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The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that hiring in the manufacturing sector rose in February to its best reading since November 2007, according to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey data. The manufacturing sector hired 380,000 workers in February, up from 360,000 in January. That reflected stronger activity for both durable (up from 212,000 to 215,000) and nondurable (up from 149,000 to 165,000) goods businesses. At the same time, total separations—including layoffs, quits and retirements—rose from 343,000 to 352,000, a level not seen since May 2009.

As a result, net hiring (or hires minus separations) rose from 17,000 in January to 28,000 in February, a four-month high. More importantly, however, net hiring has averaged a rather healthy 16,417 over the past 12 months, with a robust average of 25,142 over the past seven months.

Meanwhile, there were 426,000 manufacturing job openings in February, inching up from 424,000 in January. That was the strongest reading since September (445,000), which was a pace not seen since January 2001. In fact, the job postings rate in February was only the sixth time since the indicator started in December 2000 that openings have exceeded 400,000. In the latest figures, nondurable goods firms posted more jobs in February (up from 152,000 to 158,000), which was just enough to offset a slightly slower pace of openings for durable goods manufacturers (down from 273,000 to 269,000).

The pace of job openings has continued to trend higher overall. For comparison purposes, monthly job openings in the sector averaged 389,667 in 2017, up from 341,250 in 2016. Moving forward, renewed strength for job openings would be anticipated in the coming months.

Turning to the larger economy, job openings for nonfarm payroll businesses dropped from 6,228,000 in January to 6,052,000 in February. January’s rate was the second highest in the survey’s history, narrowly edged out by the 6,231,000 openings in September. In the latest data, job openings increased in financial activities, government, health care and social assistance, information, manufacturing and other services sectors. At the same time, net hiring among nonfarm businesses continued to be very solid, at 255,000 and 315,000 in January and February, respectively.

The post JOLTS: Hiring in the Manufacturing Sector Rose in February to Best Reading in More Than 10 Years appeared first on Shopfloor.

Anyone who has ever struggled to squeeze that last bit of toothpaste from the tube or has ordered popcorn at a movie theater knows that sometimes a bit of product is left stranded in its packaging and sometimes you get more product than you can consume. But plaintiffs’ lawyers are now trying to make a federal case out of this everyday reality by suing manufacturers for “wasted” products.

A troubling trend is emerging in class-action litigation that threatens manufacturers of every size and type. Lawsuits are claiming that manufacturers are defrauding consumers when a product’s packaging allegedly oversupplies or undersupplies a product. For example, a federal appeals court recently considered allegations that consumers are defrauded when they can’t access the full amount of lip balm contained within its tube.

Related cases involving the medical device sector are also proceeding in the courts. This week, the National Association of Manufacturers’ (NAM) Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action (MCLA) filed a legal brief opposing a class-action lawsuit claiming that manufacturers of eye droppers for glaucoma medication are defrauding patients because some patients’ eyes cannot absorb the full droplet. The plaintiffs argue that they overpaid for that “wasted” medication and that the manufacturers are liable for fraud.

If the court adopts this baseless theory of liability, it could trigger a new wave of class-action litigation with potentially devastating effects on manufacturers. Any manufacturer whose product packaging allegedly oversupplies or undersupplies a product could find itself the target of a nationwide class-action lawsuit.

Looking beyond product packaging, creative lawyers could argue that companies are injuring consumers through any number of allegedly uneconomical practices, from using suboptimal manufacturing techniques, to employing too many workers, to spending money on ineffective advertising. Any business practice that could be portrayed as inefficient “waste” could be targeted, based on conjecture that greater efficiency might have translated into savings for consumers.

That is why the MCLA is fighting back. The MCLA’s legal brief argues that the plaintiffs failed to establish any real injury and therefore have no right to bring this case, that their claims are preempted by federal law and that allowing cases like these to move forward would invite abusive class-action litigation with no benefit to consumers and grave harm to manufacturers.

The post Class-Action Lawsuits for “Wasted” Products—A Dangerous Trend appeared first on Shopfloor.

The first Earth Day in 1970 was an environmental teach-in celebrated by an estimated 20 million people nationwide. Today, it’s believed that more than 1 billion people in 192 countries participate in one of the largest days of action in the world.1

Lead battery manufacturers and lead battery recyclers are proud to mark the day with their three-fold contribution to sustainability:

  • A nearly 100 percent rate of product recycling
  • A closed-loop process that forms a perfect example of a circular economy
  • A growing presence in providing energy storage solutions for renewable power sources

The Recycling Leader

No other consumer product in the United States can beat lead batteries’ 99.3 recycling rate. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, lead batteries are the most recycled consumer product in the United States, surpassing other well-known recycled products such as newspapers, aluminum cans, tires and glass containers.2 Even lithium-ion batteries have a less than 5 percent recycling rate.

In fact, the lead in lead batteries is infinitely recyclable, and most new batteries contain up to 80 percent recycled lead.3 Moreover, every part of the battery, from lead and plastic to sulfuric acid is recyclable and reusable in manufacturing new batteries and other products. This reduces the need for new lead mining, reduces waste and helps keep lead batteries out of landfills.

This achievement is attributed to the successful state recycling laws, which the industry has worked to promulgate in more than 30 states over the past 25 years. These laws were designed to return spent batteries to manufacturers and other related businesses, thereby minimizing the risk of being diverted to inappropriate waste streams.

A Model Circular Economy

The lead battery industry is also the world’s most successful example of a circular economy. The World Economic Forum and The Sustainability Consortium, among others, have recognized the lead battery industry’s state-of-the-art closed-loop process. This is most notable in the design, production, transportation, recycling and reuse of vehicle batteries.

A Green Energy Storage Solution

Lead batteries are an essential part of the mix of battery chemistries that will revolutionize how we design and operate electric power grids to support renewable energy sources and reduce greenhouse gases.

Renewable—or green—energy is critical to help the world transition away from conventional energy. But harvesting green energy, such as wind and solar, isn’t enough. We need the ability to store and then regulate energy distribution in a cost-effective, reliable and sustainable way. That’s what advanced lead batteries do!

Standing Proud

The lead battery and recycling industries, along with their 20,000-plus employees, are proud to demonstrate their commitment to sustainable and environmentally conscious business practices—not just on Earth Day, but every day.



EPA, Advancing Sustainable Materials Management: 2014 Fact Sheet, November 2016

3 “Environmental Impact and Life Cycle Assessment of Lead Battery and Architectural Sheet Production,” The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 2016

The post Lead Batteries Support Earth Day… Every Day appeared first on Shopfloor.

At the National Association of Manufacturers’ meeting in September 2017, President Donald Trump predicted tax reform would be “rocket fuel” for the American economy, and his words are ringing true as manufacturers across the country continue to soar to new heights. One example is Ariel Corporation of Mt. Vernon, Ohio, which is further improving pay and benefits for its employees as a result of tax reform.

Karen Buchwald Wright, the Chairman, CEO and President of the Ariel Corporation, told the NAM that tax reform is helping the company improve the quality of life for their employees and the entire community of Mt. Vernon.

Ms. Wright told the NAM that the company is using tax reform to further increase wages and expand benefits for her employees:

  • Tax reform means “reinvesting in the business,” Karen said. They plan to further grow Ariel’s manufacturing capabilities, provide even better pay and benefits for employees, and continue giving back to the community.
  • Last year, before tax reform was even discussed, Karen said that Ariel gave across-the-board pay increases because she had repeatedly read that due to high taxes and an overwhelming regulatory climate, “national wages throughout manufacturing had essentially been flat for 20 years,” Karen explained. “So, across the board, we gave everyone a 13% increase in wages,” she said.
  • Because of tax reduction, Karen reported that Ariel is moving forward with further significant raises in 2018, thanks to additional profits the company can invest in both people and the “tools” they need to do their jobs. Ariel will offer employees performance-based raises of up to 4.25%, on top of what they already received last year. Tax reform also allowed improvements and increases in the company’s generous profit-sharing and retirement programs.

Karen’s deep commitment to both her current and future employees is benefiting the entire town. According to David Stuller, Ariel’s CFO, the company’s positive economic impact, along with Ariel’s generous charity work in the community, is helping to revitalize Mt. Vernon.

  • “Our downtown had really gone the way of other Midwest downtowns, there wasn’t much life left to it” David explained. “And through Karen’s efforts, it’s come back a lot. Three colleges with classrooms and departments downtown, new restaurants, restored historic theaters, a remarkable park reclaiming a decaying industrial site, a beautiful hotel… It has really come back to life.”

And Ariel is doing more than just investing in their current employees: they’re recruiting, training and developing a new generation of the highly-skilled workforce needed across the manufacturing sector.

“In addition to three two-year-degree programs for machine trades, mechanics and energy infrastructure maintenance, developed with Ohio and Pennsylvania technical colleges, we are now reaching into the high school vocational world, partnering with local vocational trade schools to develop the workforce needed here, and throughout the country. We’d like kids and parents to take another look at modern manufacturing as a satisfying and highly remunerative career path. Recently, with our new “Blue Chip” program, we recruited for attitude and aptitude,” Karen said. “We started with 24 young folks [from local high schools], 22 of whom finished the program in early April, fulfilling the stringent requirements necessary to “graduate”.

“They’ve been paid while they go to school,” she added. “It’s a very intense machinist training program of 500 hours. Now that they have finished, they have been deployed throughout the company. They’ve gone right into jobs we really needed filled! And we’re already in the process of recruiting and starting a second class.”

Citing the NAM’s Creators Wanted campaign, Karen explained the importance of manufacturers reaching students and parents alike. “If the parents don’t think there’s a career path in manufacturing, they’re not going to encourage their kids,” she said. “So, we’ve been having career fairs that include parents and students, and we have curriculum and programs developed that are going to be starting in the fall at several [local] schools.”

Ariel isn’t done investing and giving back. Tax reform means it’s even easier to continue to reward Ariel’s valuable workforce, and improve the company’s and the community’s infrastructures in the months to come.

“Certainly, a reduction in taxes is good for all of those things,” Karen said. “Our intention is to use the additional profits from not paying so much tax to benefit everyone. It’s pretty cool that we have this opportunity to positively impact so many people. ‘A rising tide lifts all boats’, often quoted by JFK, is a great way to describe the results of tax cuts.”

The post Ohio Manufacturer Ariel Corporation Increasing Pay and Benefits to Employees Due To Tax Reform appeared first on Shopfloor.

The Federal Reserve reported that manufacturing production edged up 0.1 percent in March, extending ever so slightly the robust gain of 1.5 percent in February. Overall, the data continue to show healthy growth for manufacturers, especially relative to one year ago. Indeed, manufacturing production has risen 3.0 percent over the past 12 months, up from 2.5 percent last month and the best year-over-year rate since June 2012. With that said, manufacturing capacity utilization inched down from 76.0 percent in February—a reading not seen since August 2015—to 75.9 in March. (Note that there was a new seasonal adjustment revision in March for the historic data series.)

In March, durable goods production increased 0.4 percent, whereas output among nondurable goods manufacturers fell 0.3 percent. The largest monthly increases occurred in motor vehicles and parts (up 2.7 percent), petroleum and coal products (up 1.8 percent), computer and electronic products (up 1.0 percent) and primary metals (up 0.5 percent), among other sectors. In contrast, production decreased for electrical equipment, appliances and components (down 1.9 percent), food, beverage and tobacco products (down 1.3 percent), textile and product mills (down 1.1 percent), miscellaneous durable goods (down 1.0 percent), printing and support (down 1.0 percent), plastics and rubber products (down 0.7 percent) and apparel and leather (down 0.6 percent).

Meanwhile, total industrial production rose 0.5 percent in March, following a 1.0 percent increase in February. In addition to manufacturing, mining and utilities production increased 1.0 percent and 3.0 percent, respectively, in March. Colder weather helped to contribute to better utilities output for the month. Over the past 12 months, industrial production has risen 4.3 percent, pulling back marginally from the 4.4 percent pace in February, which was the best since January 2011. Mining and utilities output has risen 10.8 percent and 5.3 percent year-over-year, respectively. In addition, capacity utilization ticked up from 77.7 percent in February to 78.0 percent in March, the strongest rate in three years.

The post Manufacturing Production Edged Up 0.1 Percent in March, with 3.0 Percent Growth YOY, the Best Rate Since June 2012 appeared first on Shopfloor.

Timmons: “Her Dedication to Public Service Was Second Only to Her Dedication to Her Family.”

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement on the passing of former First Lady Barbara Bush:

“Barbara Bush spent her life surrounded by dignitaries, governors and heads of state, including those in her own family, yet she never lost her relatability or authenticity—the very qualities that made her an iconic and beloved figure in American life. She spoke her mind and in doing so passionately advocated the policies and causes she cared about, always with an eye toward helping others and promoting love and acceptance. Her dedication to public service was second only to her dedication to her family, and as a spouse and parent, she set a sterling example for us all. To the entire Bush family during this difficult time, we send our deepest condolences and also our gratitude for sharing this remarkable lady with the entire country.”


The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12 million men and women, contributes $2.25 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic impact of any major sector and accounts for more than three-quarters of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the Manufacturers or to follow us on Shopfloor, Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

The post NAM Statement on the Passing of Barbara Bush appeared first on Shopfloor.