The productivity figures for the US economy in 2017, by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) last month, show the US economy continuing to underperform on productivity growth, one of the most important metrics for the long-term health of the economy. The labor productivity of our non-farm business economy rose just 1.2% in 2017, a pathetically low figure considering GDP growth last year was respectable, and should have put a tailwind behind productivity growth. Yet the productivity performance for 2016 was even worse. In that year, productivity actually fell by 0.1%. Over the five years 2013-2017, labor productivity growth averaged just 0.76% a year.
Tuesday, March 6, 2018
Wednesday, February 21, 2018
In a highly polarized nation, Facebook has accomplished the amazing achievement of getting itself intensely disliked by both right and left. The right detests it because its newsfeed has demonstrated a distinctly progressive bias, reflecting the worldview of the majority of its 25,000 youthful employees, while the left resents it because it is seen as the prime social media tool by which the Russians attempted to influence American voters to favor Trump.
Monday, February 19, 2018
Wednesday, January 3, 2018
Later this month, President Trump faces one of the biggest trade decisions of his presidency. By Jan. 26th, the president must decide whether to levy duties on solar cell and module imports, and what level those duties should be. The International Trade Commission (ITC) found in September that the industry has suffered injury from imports from China and elsewhere, and unanimously recommended that duties should be levied. The two complainants, struggling solar manufacturing companies Suniva and SolarWorld, have each said the recommended duties are not high enough to save the manufacturing industry, while the solar installers’ trade association, the SEIA, has loudly protested that duties could have a negative impact on industry growth.
Sunday, November 19, 2017
Last month, UK automotive components manufacturer Brose installed a new £10 million ($13M) paint line at its factory in Coventry, England. Brose hired an additional 30 workers to staff the paint process, bringing its UK workforce to nearly 1,000. Juergen Zahl, president of the UK branch of German-headquartered Brose called the Coventry expansion a “massive show of faith” in Britain’s position in the global auto industry.
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
|IBM CEO Ginny Rometty|
Technology giant IBM reported its third quarter results on Oct. 17th, and extended a stunningly long losing streak with its 22nd consecutive quarter of declining sales. In four years, quarterly revenue has dropped 18%. As they say on Twitter: Sad!
The problems at the computer giant are due mostly to the transition in the corporate world from onsite facilities to cloud computing, in other words shifting their computing needs to centralized operators like Amazon Web Services. IBM is a laggard in that business.
Monday, October 23, 2017
|US Trade Rep Robert Lighthizer|
Three rounds of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations came and went without much fanfare. But the fourth round, held in early October, included strong Trump administration proposals which start to fulfill promises to get tough on trade. Mexico and Canada complained about the proposals. The NAFTA negotiations are now looming as the arena for a major international showdown.