Economy

Boom: Over 95% of manufacturers bullish on future, ‘record optimism’

In a stunning turnaround sparked by the improving economy and last December’s tax cuts, over 95 percent of manufacturers have turned bullish about their future, an all-time record. A new survey from the National Association of Manufacturers found that 95.1 percent of manufacturers have a “positive outlook for their companies.” That is the highest outlook number in the 20-year history of the group’s Outlook Survey. The report, said the group, comes on the six-month anniversary of passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and amid reports that manufacturers are increasing wages, hiring, and capital investments. “This record optimism is no accident. It is fueled by the game-changing tax reform passed six months ago,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. In a statement he added, “Last year, manufacturers promised that we would deliver for our people and our communities if tax reform became law. Congress and the president delivered, and now manufacturers are keeping our promise: hiring new workers, raising wages, improving benefits, buying equipment and expanding right here in the United States. And the best part is, with manufacturers’ record-setting confidence and plans to keep hiring and growing, more good news is yet to come.”

More great news in this Trump economy!    🙂

$119,050,900,000: Merchandise Trade Deficit With China Hit Record Through April

The U.S. merchandise trade deficit with China set a record through April, hitting $119,050,900,000 for the first four months of 2018, according to data released today by the Census Bureau. From January through April, the Census Bureau reports, the United States exported $42,291,500,000 in goods to China while importing $161,342,400,000. In other words, when measured by dollar value, the United States bought about 3.8 times as much in goods from China as China bought from the United States. Prior to this year, the record for the highest trade deficit with China in the first four months of the year came in 2015, when it hit $115,320,000,000 in constant April 2018 dollars (adjusted using the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator). The Census Bureau has posted online the month-by-month U.S.-China trade data going back to 1985. In all 34 years from 1985 through 2018, the U.S. has run a merchandise trade deficit with China in the January through April period. The last time the U.S. ran a merchandise trade surplus with China in any given month, according to the Census Bureau data, was in April 1986, when the U.S. ran a $54,000,000 trade surplus with China. In every month since then, the U.S. has run a merchandise trade deficit with China. In 1985, the first year for which the Census Bureau has posted the data online, the U.S. ran a January-through-April merchandise trade deficit with China of $240,000,000 (in constant April 2018 dollars). The $119,050,900,000 U.S.-China merchandise trade deficit in January through April of this year is 496 times that amount. In January through April of 2017, the U.S. ran a $109,120,000,000 merchandise trade deficit with China (in constant April 2018 dollars). Through all of 2017, the U.S. ran a merchandise trade deficit with China of $375,576,400,000 (in 2017 dollars). This resulted from the U.S. importing $505,470,000,000 in goods from China, while exporting only $129,893,600,000. In 2017, according to the Census Bureau, the top products the U.S. imported from China (by dollar value) were cell phones and other household goods ($70,359,818,000); computers ($45,515,206,000); telecommunications equipment ($33,490,521,000); computer accessories ($31,648,577,000); toys, games and sporting goods ($26,751,412,000); apparel, textiles, nonwool or cotton ($24,137,388,000); furniture, household goods ($20,669,126,000); other parts and accessories of vehicles ($14,406,417,000); household appliances ($14,138,581,000); and electric apparatus ($14,080,858,000).

This crazy, WAY out of balance, trade deficit with China has been going on for over 30 years, and has only gotten worse..  Thank goodness Trump is finally addressing this issue!

American Job Openings Now Outnumber the Joble

The U.S. had more job openings this spring than unemployed Americans. For the first time since such record-keeping began in 2000, the number of available positions exceeded the number of job seekers, the Labor Department said Tuesday, a shift that is rippling across the economy and affecting the behavior of employers and workers. U.S. job openings rose to a seasonally adjusted 6.7 million at the end of April, a record high, and more than the 6.3 million Americans who were unemployed during the month. Openings had exceeded the available labor pool beginning in March, according to revised figures released Tuesday. The figures are the latest sign the U.S. is facing a historically tight labor market. The jobless rate ticked down further in May to a seasonally adjusted 3.8%, the lowest since April 2000, the Labor Department said last week. The last time the rate was lower was in 1969, when young men were being drafted into the Vietnam War. The labor market is forcing employers to rethink their approach to hiring, said Terri Greeno, owner of an Express Employment Professionals office in Crystal Lake, Ill. She is asking clients if they are being realistic in their demands for workers with clean criminal histories and higher levels of education. “Is it a health and safety issue? If not, you have to ask if those demands are really related to the outcome on the job,” Ms. Greeno said. “When the unemployment rate is this low, you’re really competing for workers who already have jobs.” Her staffing firm is taking extra steps to fill light industrial and office jobs, reaching out to 45,000 people it has placed in positions in the past 15 years and asking if friends or family would be willing to take on work. “This is a very tight labor market,” said Adam Kamins, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics. “Most everyone who wants a job has one.” For workers, that’s good news. On the other hand, a tighter labor market presents several challenges to businesses. If they can’t find workers to meet the demand for their products, they can’t help the economy grow. They may instead opt to close the restaurant early or not run a third shift at the factory. Firms may need to pay more to attract workers, and some already are. That raises costs and would cut profit margins if higher prices can’t be passed on to customers. If prices are raised, that stokes stronger inflation, which already has been accelerating in recent months. Federal Reserve policy makers are watching closely. Emergence of worker shortages and stronger inflation could signal the economy is overheating, raising the need to lift interest rates more aggressively than the slow, moderate path they have signaled. For now, the market is opening up possibilities for those who have struggled in recent years. Geremy Mincey, 26 years old, had bounced between temporary jobs since dropping out of college seven years ago, working at factories, fast-food restaurants and even as the mall Easter Bunny. He would often go months between paychecks. Earlier this year, he landed a temporary job as a saw operator at Williams Metals and Welding Alloys in Birmingham, Ala. Last month, the firm asked him to take a full-time position with health benefits and retirement savings. “I feel like I broke the cycle,” he said.

More great economic news!!  For more, click on the text above.    🙂

Trump targets oceans for development

President Trump declared June as National Ocean Month in an order that could open the oceans to clean energy projects that harness the wind and ocean currents. The proclamation says the Exclusive Economic Zone, areas of the ocean where the U.S. has the right under international law to exploit its resources and “an invaluable national asset,” is “underutilized.” Trump vowed in the statement to “develop and deploy new technologies in partnership with American academic institutions and innovators” to “harness the vast resources” of the zone. “We will streamline regulations and administrative practices to promote economic growth, while protecting our marine environment for current and future generations,” it stated. “We will also create new opportunities for American products in the global marketplace, including through continued support of our commercial fisheries and promotion of domestic aquaculture.” The nation’s economic exclusion zones are no more than 200 nautical miles from the territorial seas that border Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and other territory where the U.S. exercises sovereignty. The maritime areas also include Hawaii and Alaska. Trump also underscored his plan to advance the nation’s environmental and economic interests. The proclamation said it is “critical” that the U.S. explore, map, and inventory the nation’s waters and pursue “advanced observational technologies and forecasting capabilities” to better track storms. “By exploring, developing, and conserving the ocean resources of our great nation, we will augment our economic competitiveness, enhance our national security, and ensure American prosperity,” the statement said.

Unemployment Rate Falls to 18-Year Low; Solid Hiring in May

The U.S. labor market was firing on all cylinders in May: the unemployment rate fell to an 18-year low, employers added jobs at a faster pace and wages modestly improved. The unemployment rate ticked down to a seasonally adjusted 3.8%, matching April 2000 as the lowest reading since 1969, the Labor Department said Friday. Nonfarm payrolls rose a seasonally adjusted 223,000 in May, a jump from gains from March and April. Average hourly earnings ticked up to a 2.7% from a year earlier—and raises were even stronger for nonmanagers. “It’s pretty hard to argue that the labor market is anything but right in the sweet spot,” said Dan North, chief economist at Euler Hermes North America. “There is tremendous demand for labor right now.” U.S. employers have added to payrolls for 92 straight months, extending the longest continuous jobs expansion on record. And those gains are extending to all corners of the labor market. The unemployment rate for women, 3.6% last month, was the lowest since 1953, when far smaller share of women sought jobs. The jobless rates for blacks, Latinos and those without high-school diplomas are trending near record lows. A tighter labor market should also produce better wage growth, but overall gains have remained modest. Average hourly earnings for all private-sector workers increased 8 cents last month to $26.92. Wages for nonsupervisor workers are rising at a faster rate than overall wage increases for the first time since 2014. The nonsupervisor increase, 2.8% in May from a year earlier, was the best annual gain since mid-2009, when the recession just ended. Still, in April 2000 wages for those workers rose 3.9% from a year earlier. “The tight labor market is putting employers under enormous pressure to invest as much as necessary to retain their best employees and attract the best talent,” said Rebecca Henderson, chief executive of employment firm Randstad Sourceright. The historically low unemployment rate and growing wages should keep Federal Reserve policy makers in line to raise the central bank’s benchmark interest rate at a meeting later this month. Consumer inflation has strengthened in recent months to reach the Fed’s 2% annual target, another factor likely keeping the central bank in line to gradually lift rates further in an effort to make sure the economy doesn’t overheat. One factor holding wage gains in check is the ability of employers in the past year to bring Americans who have been out of the labor market back into the workforce and dissuade existing employees from retiring or otherwise exiting. In May, the share of American adults working or looking for a job edged down to 62.7%, but the share with jobs ticked up to 60.4%. Labor-force participation is up slightly from a recent low in 2015, but still near the smallest share of adults participating since the late 1970s.

Great news in this Trump economy!!   🙂

95,745,000: Record Number Not in Labor Force as Boomers Retire

The number of employed Americans has broken eight records since President Trump took office, but on the not-so-sunny side, the number of Americans not in the labor force also keeps increasing, breaking six records since Trump took office in January 2017. Last month, a record 95,745,000 Americans were counted as “not in the labor force,” meaning they are not employed and are not seeking a job, according to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statics. “This category includes retired persons, students, those taking care of children or other family members, and others who are neither working nor seeking work,” BLS said. With record numbers of people not in the labor force, the labor force participation rate has remained stubbornly low in recent years. In April, only 62.8 percent of the non-institutionalized, civilian population over the age of 16 was either working or actively looking for work. This compares with an all-time high of 67.3 percent in the first four months of 2000. In a March 2018 report, the Congressional Budget Office noted that a lower labor force participation rate is associated with lower gross domestic product and lower tax revenues. It is also associated with larger federal outlays, because people who are not in the labor force are more likely to enroll in federal benefit programs, including Social Security. This past January, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the labor force participation rate will continue to decline over the next 30 years from the current 62.8 percent to 61.0 percent in 2027 and to 59.2 percent in 2047. According to that report, “The continued retirement of the baby-boom generation is the most important factor driving down the overall participation rate.” The first Baby Boomers — people born between 1946 and 1964 — turned 65 in 2011.

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Poll: Majority of Swing-Voters Oppose Importing More Foreign Workers

The majority of voters say they oppose allowing big businesses to import more foreign workers to compete against their fellow citizens for coveted blue-collar and white-collar jobs. In the latest poll by the Polling Company, a majority, 52 percent, of swing-voters said they wanted the 250,000 visas allotted to “chain migrants” — the foreign relatives of newly naturalized citizens — eliminated altogether rather than handed over to businesses to allow them to import an additional flood of foreign workers. Less than 25 percent of swing voters said they supported giving businesses the 250,000 annual visas to import foreign workers to compete for U.S. jobs. The majority of Americans said they opposed allowing business to import an additional 250,000 foreign workers every year, saying instead that overall immigration should be reduced, a plan that President Trump has touted to raise American workers’ wages. More than 70 percent of Republican voters said they supported reducing overall immigration levels — where the U.S. currently admits more than 1.5 million legal and illegal immigrants every year — rather than giving the visas to businesses.

Agreed!!  We need to put and end to chain migration and other immigration loopholes.  And, of course, we need to BUILD THE WALL NOW!!!!