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Tag: Economics

Renewable Energy Advances Repel Threat from Lower Natural Gas Prices

Renewable Energy Advances Repel Threat from Lower Natural Gas Prices

This piece was originally published in the March 2016 issue of ei, the magazine of the electroindustry. By Donald R. Leavens, PhD, Vice President and Chief Economist, NEMA/BIS For much of this decade, renewable energy investment has struggled to gain a foothold, as utilities facing declining electricity demand and revenue growth have turned to abundant, reliable, and lower-cost natural gas to add capacity and replace coal generation. More recently, advances in renewable energy technologies Read more [...]
Let’s Get Real

Let’s Get Real

Why is Congress finding it difficult to pass legislation that helps U.S. business export to developing countries, supports U.S. jobs, and sends money to the U.S. Treasury? The subject is the U.S. Export-Import Bank, which for eight decades has helped U.S. exporters “get paid” but which may be in its last days due to a persistent echo-chamber of falsehoods and misunderstandings. Urge your Senators and Representative to support “Ex-Im” reauthorization. Opponents of the Bank, including leading Read more [...]
Competitiveness is the Best "Protection" for Jobs

Competitiveness is the Best "Protection" for Jobs

U.S. electroindustry companies sell billions of dollars of equipment outside the U.S. each year. These companies employ many thousands of workers here in the U.S., workers whose employment depends on the ability of their company “teams” to innovate, make sales, and satisfy their customers. With most of the world’s people (95 percent) and supporting infrastructure outside the U.S., it makes sense that companies want to gain access to more markets, be competitive, and make more sales Read more [...]
Navigating To Compete

Navigating To Compete

This morning at a House of Representatives committee hearing, a major U.S. manufacturer and exporter testifed that the country's transportation and port infrastructure is inadequate to meet its needs to get its products to overseas customers. What solution is the company using to stay competitive in the global marketplace? Ship their products from Canadian ports. How is this possible (on many levels)? Let's take a quick look at this situation, since it points to a Read more [...]
The Death of U.S. Manufacturing Was Greatly Exaggerated

The Death of U.S. Manufacturing Was Greatly Exaggerated

It has become almost an accepted truth that the U.S. is no longer a major global player when it comes to manufacturing activity. Well guess what: this represents more rumor than fact as Mark Perry illustrates in an op-ed appearing in today’s Wall Street Journal. While the U.S. economy has certainly experienced a great deal of structural change over the past several decades (shift from goods production to services), innovations and other forms of technological progress have allowed the nation’s Read more [...]
A November (not) worth remembering

A November (not) worth remembering

As I have said in previous posts, one single data point should not be used to draw firm conclusions about underlying trends in the U.S. economy. But, oh what a disappointment today’s employment report was. According to the BLS, total nonfarm payrolls did increase on net by 39,000 during November, but this gain was significantly below consensus expectations of 145,000; in addition, the diffusion index, which measures the breadth of job growth across industries, slipped to its lowest level since Read more [...]
Some Good News at Last

Some Good News at Last

After several months of less-than-stellar readings on the U.S. economy, including last week’s lackluster print on Q3 GDP, a few positive data points released this week offer at least some hope for optimism going forward. Both the ISM manufacturing and non-manufacturing indexes registered gains compared to the previous month and some of the key components of each index (new orders, production, exports, etc.), suggest conditions in the economy-at-large are improving, albeit at a slow pace. Today’s Read more [...]
A Little Ray of Sunshine? Perhaps.

A Little Ray of Sunshine? Perhaps.

Consumers have been fairly cautious with their wallets throughout the economic recovery. It has been hard to blame them, too, given the lackluster pace of improvement for the labor market as well as the significant overhang of debt still plaguing many consumers. Indeed, households have had little cause for celebration thus far and few incentives to ratchet up their spending activities. Even though September retail sales data do not portray a surge in spending or the unleashing of pent-up demand, Read more [...]
Still Singing the Job Market Blues

Still Singing the Job Market Blues

Another month, another disappointing employment report. According to the BLS, ex-census payrolls declined on net by 18,000 during September (and the prior two months were also revised downward) and the unemployment rate continued to hold at a stubbornly-high level of 9.6 percent. In the past year, the economy has added 334,000 payrolls—an average of less than 30K per month—and total employment is nearly 7.8 million below its December 2007 peak. For the sake of illustration, even if payroll Read more [...]
Not for Sale

Not for Sale

Today’s release of August home sales data reveals what is essentially a market bouncing along the bottom. Over the last two months sales have remained only slightly below the all-time low that was set back in May 2010 in the immediate aftermath of the federal homebuyer tax credit’s expiry. In addition to weak sales, homes are staying available on the market for a long period of time—a median of 10.3 months as of August 2010. One of the biggest problems plaguing housing Read more [...]