Last updateThu, 15 Nov 2018 4pm


Quality of IT Key to Retaining Skilled Workers

According to a Harvard Business Review Analytic Services report commissioned by Insight Enterprises, 58% of respondents say their organization’s technology offerings factor into a candidate’s decision to take the position. Yet 51% say outdated and inadequate office technology impedes their ability to retain employees with high-value skills and experience.

The primary hurdle to arming the workforce with the best technology is budget (55%), followed by on-premise legacy systems that don’t mesh easily with new tech (44%) and security concerns (34%). Nearly a third (30%) also believe IT is too busy supporting legacy tech to introduce new technology. 

Manufacturing Productivity Down in First Quarter

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that manufacturing sector labor productivity decreased 1.2% in the first quarter of 2018, as output increased 1.7% and hours worked increased 2.9%. Productivity declined 0.8% in the durable manufacturing sector, as output rose 3.3% and hours worked increased 4.2%. Over the last four quarters, total manufacturing sector productivity increased 0.3%, as output increased 2.0% and hours worked increased 1.7%. Unit labor costs in manufacturing increased 5.2% in the first quarter of 2018 and rose 2.5% from the same quarter a year ago. 

U.S. Factory Orders Fell 0.8% in April

New orders for manufactured goods in April, down following two consecutive monthly increases, decreased $4.0 billion or 0.8% to $494.4 billion, the U.S. Department of Commerce reported. This followed a 1.7% March increase.

Shipments, up eleven of the last twelve months, increased $0.1 billion or virtually unchanged to $492.8 billion. This followed a 0.7% March increase. Unfilled orders, up five of the last six months, increased $5.4 billion or 0.5% to $1,153.1 billion. This followed a 0.8% March increase. 

ISM: Manufacturing Expanded at Faster Pace in May

According to the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), manufacturing expanded in May as the PMI registered 58.7%, an increase of 1.4% from the April reading of 57.3%. The May PMI indicates growth for the 109th consecutive month in the overall economy and the 21st straight month of growth in the manufacturing sector.

ISM’s Backlog of Orders Index registered 63.5% in May, which is 1.5% higher than the 62% reported in April, indicating growth in order backlogs for the 16th consecutive month. 

Mid-America Economy Index Soars to 14 Year High

The May Creighton University Mid-America Business Conditions Index jumped to its highest level in 14 years pointing to strong growth for the next three to six months. The index, which ranges between 0 and 100, expanded to a robust 67.3 from April’s 64.5. This is the 18th straight month the index has remained above growth neutral 50.0, and is the highest reading in 14 years, pointing to strong growth for the region over the next three to six months.

Looking ahead six months, economic optimism, as captured by the May Business Confidence Index, decreased to a still strong 66.3 from April’s 70.2. 

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