October 2, 2013: Forecasting the jobs numbers
Welcome to the second day of the Great Government Shutdown of 2013. And it looks like we’re still stuck in a stalemate. House Republicans aren’t dropping their demand to either delay the Affordable Care Act or delete it entirely, and Senate Democrats won’t pass the House’s budget resolution unless they do. That leaves a partially closed government and lots of angry constituents.
On top of that, no jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics this Friday. Surveys of economists produced by the private sector have provided a glimpse into what this lost jobs report would have looked like. The ADP National Employment Report, writes Mark Memmott of NPR, predicts about 166,000 new private sector jobs were created in September, but only 1,000 new manufacturing positions. That would be 23,700 short of the clip needed to get us back on track toward one million manufacturing jobs by the end of President Obama’s second term (his stated goal, you’ll recall).
That’s a disappointing forecast, especially as manufacturing productivity continues to pick up. Bloomberg’s Matthew Philips writes that the Institute for Supply Management’s Purchasing Managers’ Index, “a much-watched proxy for manufacturing activity, hit 56.2 in September, the third month in a row that it has come in above economists’ expectations.” Anything above 50 is considered a sign of growth, and 56.2 is high; Philips notes such a number would normally yield about 20,000 new manufacturing jobs. But these aren't normal times:
Employment in manufacturing has basically been flat since April 2012. Despite the decent growth we’ve seen in manufacturing activity, especially over the last four months, there are only about 20,000 more manufacturing jobs in the U.S. than there were a year ago.
Woof. Good thing we’ve got Washington hard at work at increasing America’s employment outlook. And it’s just Day Two in Shutdown City.
Elsewhere around the web:
China, notoriously famous for exporting inexpensive goods, is now gaining speed to become one of the world’s top weapons exporters, says David Lague of Reuters. A Chinese defense firm, already under U.S. sanctions for dealings with the regimes in Iran, Syria, and North Korea, won a $4 billion bid to supply missile defense systems. Turkey’s NATO allies (America included) are not exactly pleased:
Ankara could call off the air defense deal under pressure, but some Chinese and foreign commentators suggested it would still be a symbolic victory for Beijing. They say Turkey's willingness to choose the FD-2000 over established rivals confirms the rapid technical improvement and competitiveness of China's missile and aerospace sector.
Unfortunately it’s no wonder that China’s defense industry has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years; it was widely reported earlier this year that the People’s Liberation Army has used cybertheft to gain industrial secrets.
Following on the heels of yesterday’s most excellent news of 3-D printers headed into space comes an interesting overview on what the booming growth of additive manufacturing means for economies worldwide. The American Prospect’s Jeff Saginor asks what kind of market disruption can we expect from technology capable of creating highly customizable products … from your own garage? A net gain for American manufacturing in the near-term, says AAM’s Scott Paul:
One of the first impacts this will have is to re-shore some work. You’ll find businesses are able to spring up based on the availability of 3-D printing that you would have never expected to return.
Shutdown or no shutdown, check out this not-so-sweet manufacturing fact:
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Happy Wednesday out there, America! Washington is shut down, but AAM will keep working for you.
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