Last updateTue, 18 May 2021 5pm

Trends & Forecasts

U.S. and Canadian Concerns are Worldwide Concerns

US and Canadian Concerns are Worldwide Concerns 2During the recent meeting of the European Congress of the Valves and Taps Industry (CEIR) in Lyon, France, the 55 representatives from 11 different European nations discussed issues that closely mirror topics of concern to the valve community in the United States and Canada. VMA President Bill Sandler was on hand to represent the Valve Manufacturers Association, and noted, “The oil crisis was definitely on the minds of attendees, but the general industry slowdown, the EU’s machine directives and regulations affecting water quality were also of particular interest.”

Are We Bringing Back U.S. Jobs?

Made in USAWe first introduced readers to the Reshoring Initiative and its founder and president, Harry Moser, in the Winter 2013 edition of VALVE Magazine. At the time, the reshoring movement was just gaining traction amongst manufacturers, so we followed up recently to see how things are going at this time.

Technically, reshoring means that American companies are bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. after moving it offshore in the past; foreign direct investment (FDI) means that a foreign company is building in the U.S. In 2014 and 2015, the rate of reshoring plus foreign direct investment equaled the rate of offshoring. That means that in total, the U.S. was bringing back as many jobs as were being sent away, “for the first time since almost ever,” said Moser. “In the preceding decade, we were losing a net 200,000 manufacturing jobs per year. It’s a good start!” An interesting development is that a lot of Chinese companies are putting factories in the U.S. to make products for the domestic market.

Cyber-Update: Attacks on Utilities and Manufacturers

The Winter 2016 issue of VALVE Magazine featured an article in which the very real threat posed by cyber criminals to infrastructure security was discussed. Many of the experts quoted in that article said it is not a matter of if, but when, an attack would be made. So it came as no surprise when a recent article in the U.K.’s Register revealed a report by Verizon Security Solutions that a "hacktivist" group with ties to Syria compromised a water company’s computers after exploiting unpatched web vulnerabilities in its internet-facing customer payment portal.

Five Solutions to the Skills Gap

“Over the next decade, nearly three and a half million manufacturing jobs will likely need to be filled, and the skills gap is expected to result in 2 million of those jobs going unfilled.”

That is the conclusion of a recent report commissioned by The Manufacturing Institute. According to this report, many industries, not just manufacturing, are having trouble filling these jobs. And, despite the fact that common wisdom decrees that young people have stellar computer skills, executives surveyed for this report considered deficiencies in technical and computer skills being their biggest concern when hiring. This is followed by a lack of problem solving skills, basic technical training, and math skills.

Forecast for U.S. Valve Industry: No Growth Expected

2016 magnifying glassFor the first time since 2009, U.S. industrial valve shipments are predicted to have almost no growth in 2016, according to the annual forecast of the Valve Manufacturers Association (VMA). VMA’s forecast indicates shipments will be up just $3 million over 2015 to be about $4.5 billion total.

“Our industry crested in 2008 at about $4 billion before taking a tumble from the recession. We’ve been slowly gaining ground ever since, but this is the first year we’re predicting little to no growth,” says VMA President Bill Sandler.

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