Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The China Endgame: Let’s Build USA 2025

President Trump has just made what could be the biggest gamble of his presidency: he’s betting that he can make a significant difference in the US economy by taking action against Chinese mercantilism. As usual, the hordes of commentators in the liberal media, conservative establishment, and the economics profession have misunderstood his goals and objectives.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

US Notches Dismal Productivity Performance in 2017

The productivity figures for the US economy in 2017, published 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.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

How Facebook Can Help Rebuild US Manufacturing

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

Solar Industry Gears Up For More US Production As Tariffs Take Effect

Safeguard tariffs imposed by President Trump on imported solar cells and panels have been in effect for just over a week, but already we’re seeing moves to boost US solar production in response. No fewer than nine solar manufacturing companies are planning to launch or expand solar manufacturing in the US, according to our latest information. This is great news for the US solar industry, because it shows that tariffs can produce the intended effect of boosting a US industry, and with it jobs and research and development. It further suggests the US has the opportunity to regain its leadership position in this critical industry. 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

How To Make China Pay For US Solar Industry Expansion

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

Strong Post-Brexit Outlook For UK Economy

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 Offshores to India and Business Still Shrinks

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.