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Tag: Economy

Filling in the Gaps in Lighting Solutions

Filling in the Gaps in Lighting Solutions

Today many concerned building owners, lighting designers and some regulators are increasing their efforts and attention on free, natural light.  Unfortunately, while it is certainly very energy efficient, it is not reliable.  Like all renewable resources it is subject to periods of unavailability, not just at night but also during the day.  Natural variation in the intensity of sunlight can be a challenge.    Retail and Task-oriented lighting plans require Read more [...]
The End of the China Price?

The End of the China Price?

For the better part of the last decade, the notion of the “China price” has been central to understanding trends in global trade flows and the accumulation of a vast Chinese trade surplus. The “China price” flowed from the dramatically lower cost of producing labor intensive goods in the Middle Kingdom relative to the developed world thanks to the presumed limitless supply of heretofore farm-bound subsistence labor making its way to burgeoning coastal manufacturing centers Read more [...]
Economic Growth Surges in Q4, but Beware…

Economic Growth Surges in Q4, but Beware…

The Commerce Department reported that real GDP expanded at a 5.7% annualized rate in the final three months of last year, its second straight quarterly expansion. A strong increase in exports and a further moderation in inventory liquidation were the largest contributors to the increase. This is good news to be sure, but as the Washington Post cautions in this piece, it “may veil weakness in the economy.” (I’d put it a bit more strongly than “may.”)   In any case, Read more [...]
Energy Saving Motor Control

Energy Saving Motor Control

As we all try to save energy, one of the most effective routes is through more efficient use of motors.  This is so important because motors are everywhere - household appliances from cleaning to kitchen, domestic/commercial/industrial fans and pumps, and especially in electric vehicles, among many applications.  They are so ubiquitous that a business "Public Service of New Hampshire - The Northeast Utilities System" posting indicated that "electric motors consume 64 Read more [...]
A Doozy of a New Year

A Doozy of a New Year

I sure hope the holidays were restful for our nation’s lawmakers, because the second session of the 111th Congress is shaping up to be a doozy.  First, we have health care reform – the House and Senate approved their respective bills in the waning days of 2009, and the process wasn’t pretty. Now Congress and the Obama Administration have the unenviable task of hammering out a compromise, which latest sources indicate will not be achieved through a formal conference.  Read more [...]
Time for a New Economy Built Around Innovation

Time for a New Economy Built Around Innovation

This is typically the time of year -- when Americans have that shop-till-you-drop mentality -- that we hear about whether U.S. retailers will see red or black in their Christmas stockings. Such news, we're told, is important for a country whose economy, over the past two decades, has been driven by consumer spending.  But an interesting column in the WaPo opinion section this past Sunday (two days after Black Friday, one day before Cyber Monday) made the case for ending this Read more [...]
Bad News on Jobs

Bad News on Jobs

Even as numerous indicators suggest that the economy is emerging from recession, one of the most important of all continues to worsen. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that the unemployment rate rose to 10.2% in October (subscription required), its highest since April 1983. Statistics like this don’t augur well for optimistic predictions of a snappy V-shaped recovery. Hoping for help from Uncle Sam? Steve Pearlstein, in this WaPo piece, gently suggests that it will be difficult Read more [...]
Touting "No Layoff" Companies

Touting "No Layoff" Companies

Economic times are tough for all U.S. manufacturers, and many have had to lay off employees.  But some advanced manufacturing facilities have opted not to fire anyone, event if it means switching their roles until production picks back up. You can count NEMA members among the companies that are keeping their workforces intact.  In a radio segment today, NPR highlighted two of them, Hypertherm of New Hampshire and Lincoln Electric of Cleveland, whose CEOs (*** Couch and John Stropki, Read more [...]
Green Shoot Sighting

Green Shoot Sighting

The July employment report was released by BLS this morning and came as a pleasant surprise. The unemployment rate actually declined - by a tenth of a percentage point to 9.4% - for the first time since April 2008. Let's not break out the champagne, though. Payrolls were still nearly 250,000 lower in July than in June. It was not that long ago that a loss of 250,000 jobs in a single month would have been considered a calamity. Moreover, if the jobless recoveries of recent history are any guide, Read more [...]
Happy 100th!

Happy 100th!

Wednesday marked the release of the 100th edition of NEMA's Electroindustry Business Confidence Index report. The EBCI tracks the evolution of business conditions facing the electroindustry in North America and three other world regions, as seen through the eyes of senior executives of NEMA member companies. Perhaps the most interesting component is the report's measure of expected conditions a half-year down the road. Naturally, this future conditions index has seen highs and lows over Read more [...]