Last updateThu, 22 Mar 2018 4pm


House Unanimously Passes Miscellaneous Tariff Bill

The House of Representatives voted unanimously this week to pass H.R. 4318, the Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) Act of 2018. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation was written to increase the competitiveness of American manufacturers by temporarily reducing tariffs on nearly 1,700 different products that are not otherwise available in the U.S.

“While it may not make headlines, this is a top story and a big deal for manufacturers. Manufacturers and other businesses face what amounts to a nearly $1-million-a-day tax every additional day this issue goes unresolved. That’s thanks to billions of dollars in burdensome tariffs that companies have had to pay since the last MTB expired at the end of 2012, just for buying the supplies they need to build products in America,” said National Association of Manufacturers president and CEO Jay Timmons. 

Manufacturing Technology Orders Increased in November

Orders for manufacturing technology climbed year over year and year to date in November 2017 according to the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT). Orders totaled $425.97 million for the month, up 19.0% compared to November 2016. At a cumulative total of $4.06 billion for the year, orders were up 9.4% compared to the same point in 2016.

With consumer sentiment remaining at strong levels and capacity utilization continuing to move upwards, demand for manufactured goods is expected to stay strong in the coming months. The PMI from the Institute for Supply Management rose to 59.7 in December, the 16th consecutive month of growth. 

Texas Employment Forecast Calls for 3% Growth

Texas job growth is forecast to strengthen to 3% in 2018 from an estimated 2.5% in 2017, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. The forecast means Texas should add about 366,000 new jobs in 2018. Texas added 305,900 jobs in 2017, ranking No. 3 in the nation for job growth after falling below the national average in 2015 and 2016. The pickup was mostly due to a rebound in the energy and manufacturing sectors.

Employment growth broadened across the state’s major metro areas in 2017. Austin and Dallas posted the strongest gains, followed by San Antonio, which saw 3% growth in 2017. Houston rebounded from weakness in 2015 and 2016 and Hurricane Harvey only had a temporary impact on job growth. 

U.S. Factory Orders Rose By 1.3% in November

New orders for manufactured goods in November, up five of the last six months, increased $6.5 billion or 1.3% to $488.1 billion, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported. This followed a 0.4% October increase. Shipments, up eleven of the last twelve months, increased $5.7 billion or 1.2% to $491.2 billion. This followed a 0.8% October increase.

New orders for manufactured durable goods in November, up three of the last four months, increased $3.0 billion or 1.3% to $241.4 billion. This followed a 0.4% October decrease. 

U.S. Adds Fewer Than Expected Jobs in December

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 148,000 in December, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1%, the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Employment gains occurred in health care, construction and manufacturing. In 2017, payroll employment growth totaled 2.1 million, compared with a gain of 2.2 million in 2016.

In December, manufacturing employment rose by 25,000, largely reflecting a gain in durable goods industries (+21,000). Manufacturing added 196,000 jobs in 2017, following a loss of 16,000 in 2016. 



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