Member Briefing June 17, 2024

Posted By: Harold King Daily Briefing,

Top Story

Boosting Manufacturing Profits: The Impact Of Generative AI

AI has already proven itself effective in other tech-heavy domains, such as software development, and it is one of the most viable solutions for manufacturers navigating increasingly challenging circumstances and greater pressure to achieve more with less. By harnessing a broader array of data and employing powerful machine learning and AI tools capable of identifying patterns and making predictions, manufacturers can realize various potential benefits, including:

  • Reducing downtime and defects through predictive maintenance.
  • Addressing labor challenges through greater automation.
  • Improving quality control through automated inspection.
  • Enhancing supply chain optimization and flexibility.
  • Improving demand forecasting.
  • Enhancing long-term and real-time decision-making.
  • Reducing delays and inefficiencies through better production scheduling.
  • Lessening waste through green manufacturing practices.
  • Improving worker safety.

Read more at Forbes

PPI = 2.2%. Wholesale Prices Fell 0.2% in May Up Year on Year

The producer price index, a gauge of prices that producers get for their goods and services in the open market, declined 0.2% for the month, the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday. That reversed a 0.5% increase in April and compared with the Dow Jones estimate for a 0.1% rise. Excluding food, energy and trade services, the PPI was unchanged, compared with expectations for a 0.3% increase. On an annual basis, the all-items PPI rose 2.2%.

The PPI was held back by a 0.8% decrease in final demand goods prices, which was the largest decline since October 2023. Within the category, the energy index tumbled 4.8%. Food prices fell 0.1%. On the services side, fuels and lubricants retailing margins surged 12.2%, but that was offset in part by a 4.3% plunge in airline passenger services prices.

Read more at CNBC

Global Headlines

Middle East


Other Headlines

Policy and Politics

House Approves Defense Policy Bill with Provisions on Abortion, Transgender Troops

The U.S. House Of Representatives on Friday passed its version of the annual defense policy bill that includes divisive social issues, such as abortion rights and treatment of transgender service members, which threaten to derail the must-pass legislation. The Senate Armed Services Committee will now work with the and House to form a compromise version of the fiscal 2025 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA.

The 217-199 vote saw all but six Democrats oppose the $895 billion bill. Only three Republicans broke ranks to oppose it. The outcome was far from certain, though, as lawmakers and aides speculated the vote would come down to attendance at the Friday session. The 217-199 vote saw all but six Democrats oppose the $895 billion bill. Only three Republicans broke ranks to oppose it. The outcome was far from certain, though, as lawmakers and aides speculated the vote would come down to attendance at the Friday session.

Read more at Reuters

NY is Changing High School Graduation Requirements. Here’s What’s Next in the Multi-Year Effort.

Students will no longer be required to pass the state’s Regents exams to earn a high school diploma under a set of 12 proposed actions New York Education officials outlined last week. Instead, they will have a menu of options to choose from to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in seven key areas: critical thinking, effective communication, cultural and social-emotional competences, innovative problem solving, literacy across content areas, and a status as a “global citizen.”

New York education officials presented four “transformative actions” to move the state toward implementing the commission’s 12 recommendations. The first of these actions would adopt the commission’s portrait of a graduate as the framework for high school diploma requirements, tasking students with demonstrating proficiency in each of its attributes prior to graduation. Education officials also called for the state to redefine credits to focus on proficiency, expanding the ways students can show their skills to include options like capstone learning projects, work-based learning experiences, and more.

Read more at Chalkbeat

DiNapoli: Local Sales Tax Collections Up 3.9% in May Compared to Last Year

Local sales tax collections in New York state increased by 3.9% in May compared to the same month in 2023, according to data released today by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. Overall, local collections totaled $1.78 billion, up $66.4 million from the same time last year. In May 2024 New York City’s collections totaled $783 million, an increase of 5.3%, or $39.5 million, compared to the same time last year. County and city collections in the rest of the state totaled $884 million, an increase of 2.6%.

More than 80% (46 of 57) of counties experienced year-over-year increases. “Local sales tax growth improved in May after four straight months of either flat or modest increases,” DiNapoli said. “New York City collections continued to be the main driver of growth, although most counties also experienced year-over-year increases for the month.”

Read more at the Comptroller’s website

Health and Wellness

There’s a New Dominant COVID Variant — But are the Symptoms Any Different?

It took just a few weeks for a new COVID variant to rank as the most prominent in the U.S., unseating its fellow ‘FLiRT’ spin-off of the once-dominant Omicron variant. The latest projections from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show KP.3, a sublineage of the JN.1 lineage of the Omicron variant, may comprise 25% of the COVID tests sequenced in the country. Close behind is KP.2, which may make up about 22% of COVID cases.

While previous FLiRT variants KP.1.1 and KP.2 appear relatively similar to JN.1, experts have warned KP.3 may be better at evading immunity. However, KP.2 and KP.3 are still relatively similar, Dr. Natalie Thornburg, the chief lab official for the CDC’s Coronavirus and Other Respiratory Viruses Division explained last week. When it comes to the symptoms the variants are sparking, officials say it’s too soon to tell if they’re causing anything unusual, like the increase in pink eye symptoms associated with XBB.1.16 reported last spring.

Read more at The Hill


The Governor updated COVID data for the week ending June 14th.


  • Weekly: 13
  • Total Reported to CDC: 83,394


  • Average Daily Patients in Hospital statewide: 585
  • Patients in ICU Beds: 60

7 Day Average Cases per 100K population

  • 4.7 positive cases per 100,00 population, Statewide
  • 4.8 positive cases per 100,00 population, Mid-Hudson

Useful Websites:

Election 2024

Industry News

US Consumer Sentiment Unexpectedly Falls to Seven-Month Low

The latest University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey released Friday showed sentiment hit its lowest level in seven months during June. The index reading for the month came in at 65.6, down from 69.1 in May and lower than the 72 economists had expected. The current conditions index fell from to 62.5 from 69.6 the month prior, contributing to the decline in June's headline index. Capital Economics North America economist Oliva Cross said Friday's reading shows "households are now struggling more under the weight of higher interest rates and still-elevated consumer prices."

Year-ahead inflation expectations were flat at 3.3% from the month prior. However, most respondents likely didn't have time to factor in recent positive inflation readings from May. The interview window for the survey spanned from May 22 to June 12. Broadly, the decline in the index represents a continued trend among consumers who are fed up with higher prices regardless of whether inflation is cooling and the labor market remains on solid footing.

Read more at Yahoo Finance

Starliner Set for June 22 Undocking, Return to Earth, NASA Says

he Boeing Starliner spacecraft is now scheduled to undock from the International Space Station and return to Earth on June 22 with its inaugural astronaut crew, NASA said on Friday, giving more time to finalize planning for the complicated process. NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams were launched aboard Starliner June 5 and arrived at the ISS the next day, following a 24-hour flight in which the spacecraft encountered four helium leaks and five failures of its 28 maneuvering thrusters.

The spacecraft during its time docked to the ISS has encountered more problems. A fifth leak of helium - used to pressurize Starliner's propulsion system thrusters - popped up, and separately an oxidizer valve has been stuck, NASA has said. The return to Earth is expected to last about six hours and target a location in the desert of Utah, New Mexico or other backup locations, depending on local weather conditions. Starliner's first flight with astronauts is a crucial last test in a much-delayed and over-budget program before NASA can certify the spacecraft for routine astronaut missions and add a second U.S. crew vehicle to its fleet, alongside SpaceX's Crew Dragon.

Read more at Reuters

The New York Fed DSGE Model Forecast—June 2024    

The New York Fed DSGE (dynamic stochastic general equilibrium) model has been used to forecast the economy since 2011. The data in 2024:Q1 contained mostly negative surprises for the model: inflation was as much as 1.5 percentage points higher on an annualized basis than the model had predicted in March, while output growth was about 0.5 percentage point lower, also on an annualized basis. Monetary policy became more restrictive than anticipated in March, and productivity surprised on the upside. As a result of these developments, the model’s forecasts changed considerably, especially for 2024.

Core PCE inflation is expected to be significantly higher over the current year (2.7 percent versus 2.0 percent in March) and output growth nearly 1 percentage point lower (1.0 percent versus 1.9 percent in March). The model mainly attributes the forecasted rise in inflation to cost-push shocks, which also exert a negative impact on output growth. As a result of both the decline in economic activity and the productivity-induced rise in potential output, the output gap is projected to fall into negative territory by the end of the year.

Read more at The NY Fed

Why America Is Running Low on Zyn Nicotine Pouches

America’s favorite nicotine pouch has become so popular that its factory can’t churn out the product fast enough. Zyn’s U.S. sales growth has slowed and its market share has slipped in recent weeks as a nationwide shortage of the product has led to out-of-stocks in some stores. Many products on the brand’s website this week were listed as back-ordered. Zyn has been available in the U.S. since 2014 but its sales have skyrocketed over the past year and a half, propelled by a wave of unofficial “Zynfluencers” promoting the brand on social media.

The pouches—an alternative to cigarettes—look like little tea bags, and come in flavors such as mint, cinnamon, coffee and citrus. They tuck discreetly into the cheek and don’t require users to spit. The pouches are comparable in risk to pharmaceutical products such as nicotine gums or patches, public-health experts say.  Zyn’s manufacturer, tobacco giant Philip Morris International is working to add production capacity at the brand’s sole U.S. factory in Owensboro, Ky., but the problem won’t be fully resolved until the end of the year, said Philip Morris spokesman Travis Parman. The company has already made process adjustments to increase production at that factory, he said. Next year, the company plans to open an additional U.S. production facility for Zyn.

Read more at The WSJ

FAA Chief Pledges to Keep a Grip on Boeing

In testimony to the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee on June 13, Federal Aviation Administration chief Mike Whitaker stated the agency had not applied effective oversight of Boeing Corp. prior to the January incident involving an Alaska Airlines 737 MAX 9 jet. “The FAA should have had much better visibility into what was happening at Boeing before January 5,” Whitaker said.

Going forward, Whitaker committed to a new approach. “We will utilize the full extent of our enforcement authority to ensure Boeing is held accountable for any noncompliance,” Whitaker said. “We currently have multiple active investigations into Boeing and are processing a number of reports filed by whistle-blowers.” Both Boeing and the FAA have been under steady criticism from legislators since the investigation into the cause of two 737 MAX crashes in October 2018 and March 2019 revealed that regulators had been negligent in certifying the jets’ airworthiness, in 2017. FAA has consistently pledged to tighten its oversight of the OEM’s manufacturing programs.

Read more at American Machinist

EIA Expects Most Electricity Growth to Be Met By Renewables

Electricity generation will grow by about 3% this year and 1% next year—and most of it will come from renewables, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. EIA expects electricity from solar, wind and hydropower combined to account for 22% of total U.S. generation in 2024, increasing to 24% in 2025. Electricity from those three sources had made up 21% of U.S. generation in 2023.

Solar is likely to provide 41% more electricity this year than it did in 2023, wind generation is slated to provide 5% more and hydropower 6% more. In hydropower, the most sizable growth will likely be in the Southeast. For the first time ever, solar is on track to generate more electricity than hydropower in 2025.

Read more at The EIA

46 Percent Of American EV Owners Want To Go Back To ICE: Study

According to a report from Automotive News, consulting firm McKinsey & Co. found that 46 percent of U.S. respondents who currently own an electric vehicle are likely to buy an ICE-powered vehicle as their next car purchase, with charging concerns standing out as the largest hindrance toward the gradual transition to all-electric vehicles. Beyond this, McKinsey & Co. also found that 29 percent of electric vehicle owners worldwide are likely to switch to gasoline vehicles, citing the same concerns.

Electric vehicle owners appear to be experiencing buyer’s remorse due to inadequate public charging infrastructure, high ownership costs, and limitations with long trips. McKinsey & Co. found a few other notable pieces, including: 21 percent of global respondents have no interest in ever switching to an all-electric vehicle. Of those, 33 percent cited charging concerns. Said charging concerns are exacerbated by range-related expectations, where minimum range expectations have grown from 270 miles in 2022 to 291.4 miles today.

Read more at Powernation

Elon Musk Wins Tesla Shareholder Battle to Keep his Record-Breaking Pay, Reincorporate in Texas,

Tesla shareholders reapproved Elon Musk’s record-breaking pay pact and signed off on a new Texas incorporation in a show of support for the CEO as he fights legal battles on multiple fronts. "Hot damn, I love you guys," Musk said after the votes were tabulated while speaking at the company's annual shareholder meeting in Austin, Texas. Tesla said 72% of votes cast by shareholders, excluding Musk and his brother Kimbal, were in favor of a $56 billion compensation package that was awarded in 2018 and then voided this year by a Delaware judge. That pay plan is now valued at roughly $48 billion.

The voting count was 84% for a reincorporation in Texas instead of Delaware — a move made in reaction to the January ruling against Musk's pay. That total also excluded shares owned by Musk and his brother.

Read more at The NY Daily News

Mexico Has a New President: What Does Sheinbaum’s Election Mean for US Manufacturing?

How has manufacturing fared during Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) 6-year term? And what will the new course be under the leadership of now president-elect Claudia Sheinbaum, AMLO’s protégé who will have a complete legislative majority?  During the first five years of AMLO's government, the manufacturing gross domestic product (GDP) showed a sustained growth, but also during AMLO’s tenure, manufacturing GDP has shown the worst performance of any Mexican president since the beginning of the 21st century.

Claudia Sheinbaum has given clear signals that she will maintain and strengthen support for the manufacturing sector and its relationship with the United States. In her speeches on the campaign trail and in her position as the election winner, she has highlighted the importance of foreign investment and the relocation of production chains (nearshoring) as opportunities to also improve social welfare in Mexico. Since April 2023, when she was still head of the government of Mexico City, Sheinbaum participated in a “nearshoring” forum, of the discussion “The City and Transformation”, where she stated that foreign investment must translate into decent jobs and fair wages. She stressed the need for these investments to benefit the population, particularly young people, to ensure a promising future for the country. Her commitment to social and economic well-being is reflected in her support for progressive labor policies, such as raising the minimum wage and eliminating outsourcing.

Read more at Industry Week