Manufacturing labor productivity rose 3.0% at the annual rate in the fourth quarter, boosted by continued rebounds in output. Yet, labor productivity in the sector edged down 0.2% in 2020 overall, with manufacturing output down 6.5% and unit labor costs up 7.4%.
Factory orders rose 1.1% in December, increasing for the eighth straight month but declining 0.8% year-over-year. At the same time, durable goods have rebounded strongly since the pandemic. Over the past 12 months, new orders for durable goods have risen 1.9%, but with transportation equipment excluded, sales increased a solid 7.0% year-over-year.
The ISM® Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index® slowed in January but continued to expand solidly, declining from 60.5 in December to 58.7 in January. New orders and production growth remained robust, but respondents cited lingering supply chain disruptions, and raw material costs rose at the fastest pace since April 2011.
The U.S. economy added 49,000 workers in January, bouncing back somewhat after declining by 227,000 in December. There are 9,603,000 fewer nonfarm payrolls today than one year ago. The unemployment rate fell from 6.7% in December to 6.3% in January.
Manufacturing employment fell in January for the first time since April, with the sector losing 10,000 workers to begin the new year. This suggests that broader macroeconomic weaknesses related to the continued spread of COVID-19 have extended to the manufacturing sector, which had been a bright spot in recent months. Over the past 12 months, manufacturing employment has fallen by 575,000 workers.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is preparing to sign an executive order to review U.S. supply chains for large-capacity batteries, pharmaceuticals, critical minerals and semiconductors that power cars, phones, military equipment and other goods.
The United States has become increasingly reliant on imports of these goods — a potential national security and economic risk that the Biden administration hopes to address with the planned 100-day review and the possibility of increased domestic production, according to administration officials who insisted on anonymity to discuss the order. However, Biden will also look to work with international partners to ensure a stable and reliable supply chain.
The plan: According to administration officials, President Biden will seek to launch a 100-day review of the supply chain, in preparation for a push to increase domestic production of certain goods. In addition, President Biden may also work to strengthen international supply chains by working with partners around the world.
What it covers: The order will focus on supply chains for goods, including large-capacity batteries, pharmaceuticals, critical minerals and semiconductors. These semiconductors power a range of important products, from cars to phones to military equipment.
In today’s manufacturing world, women play a much larger role than they have in the past. Whether they are creative, analytical, or process-oriented, there is a place in manufacturing for women. Manufacturers need diversity in their workforce as they develop future technologies and women are a force to be reckoned with, offering some of the most brilliant minds in manufacturing today. Women in Manufacturing
Manufacturing production increased 1.0% in January, rising for the fourth straight month. Output in the sector plummeted 20.1% between February and April 2020 at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, but production has stabilized since then, with output down just 1.0% from the pre-pandemic pace 11 months ago.
Manufacturing in the New York and Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank districts expanded in February, with respondents feeling upbeat in their outlook for the next six months but continuing to cite pricing pressures for input costs.
In Europe, manufacturing activity expanded at the strongest pace in three years, even as raw material prices rose at rates not seen since April 2011, and the services sector contracted sharply for the sixth straight month due to COVID-19-related restrictions.
Despite a dramatically altered labor market, manufacturers consistently suggest that they have trouble attracting and retaining sufficient workers. More than 77% of small and medium-sized firms expect to continue struggling to identify talent in 2021 and beyond, according to a new survey from The Manufacturing Institute and BKD, a national CPA and advisory firm.
The December survey reported 475,000 manufacturing job openings, pulling back for the second straight month but continuing to be solid overall. In the larger economy, nonfarm business job openings increased to 6,646,000 in December, a five-month high. The December figure translates into 1.62 unemployed workers for every one nonfarm business job opening in the United States.
The National Federation of Independent Business reported that the Small Business Optimism Index dropped from 95.9 in December to 95.0 in January, its lowest level since May 2020, with small business owners expressing anxiety about the economy and the political landscape.
OSHA released its new OSHA COVID Guidance per the President’s January 21 Executive Order, titled: Protecting Workers: Guidance on Mitigating and Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in the Workplace. Below is a slide deck highlighting some of the key points included. Please keep in mind that the EO still calls on OSHA to develop a full Emergency Temporary Standard by
March 15 if they feel it is necessary. The key components of this guidance are:
- Conduct a hazard assessment.
- Identify control measures to limit the spread of the virus.
- Adopt policies for employee absences that don’t punish workers as a way to encourage potentially infected workers to remain home.
- Ensure that coronavirus policies and procedures are communicated to both English and non-English speaking workers.
- Implement protections from retaliation for workers who raise coronavirus-related concerns.
Here is a link to the full guidance: