Member Briefing March 28, 2023

Posted By: Harold King Daily Briefing,

Cutting Tool Demand Rose in January

U.S. machine shops and other manufacturers increased their purchases of cutting tools by 4.2% from December to January, totaling $196.2 million to start the year. It was the first monthly increase recorded by the monthly Cutting Tool Market Report since October 2022. According to the CTMR’s sources (AMT - the Assn. for Manufacturing Technology and the U.S. Cutting Tools Institute) the January total is 22.7% higher than the comparable figure for January 2022.

“The outlook remains strong for 2023; cutting tool suppliers continue to reduce back orders and increase inventory,” says Jack Burley, chairman of AMT’s Cutting Tool Product Group and Committee. Burley continued: “Modest increases in the data can be attributed to inflation, but incoming new order activity remains at a good level. Based on the positive report from January, I expect that 2023 will meet expectations.”

Read more at American Machinist

War in Ukraine Headlines


Goldman Sachs Predicts Biden's Clean-Energy Law To Cost $1.2T — Triple The Estimated Amount

Goldman Sachs said President Biden‘s landmark clean-energy legislation would cost approximately $1.2 trillion, which is three times more than the government’s official estimate. The IRA is aimed at promoting investment in renewable energy sources and technology that enhances efficiency. It has been a crucial component of the Biden administration’s objectives.

Goldman Sachs analysts estimated that the $1.2 trillion allocated by Washington would unleash an additional $3 trillion in investments by companies and individuals, which will be utilized to create and extend climate-friendly businesses. Meanwhile, Biden and European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen decided to begin negotiations to resolve disputes between the U.S. and European Union over the EV subsidies that are included in the renewable energy act.

Read more at Bloomberg

Is 'Made in USA' Worth the Cost and Effort?

“Made in America.” Years ago, this phrase used to be so simple. There was no confusion as to what it meant. Or the pride that it exuded, both to the company who made the product and the consumer who purchased it. Things aren’t quite so simple anymore. Unfortunately, over the years, defining “Made in America” has become an exercise in doublespeak and obfuscation. To help clarify, in 2021 the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) finalized a new rule to crack down on marketers who make false, unqualified claims that their products are Made in the USA.

Before your company begins down the Made in USA path, you need to examine some important considerations. This is not meant to convince you that one approach is better than other—just to highlight the costs and other factors that will go into making an informed decision. There are others, but here’s IndustryWeek’s Top 10:

Read more at CNBC

COVID News – New Survey Data Reveals that Between April and August 2022, 98% of Canadian Adults had Antibodies to SARS-CoV-2

Monday, Statistics Canada released results from the second cycle of the Canadian COVID-19 Antibody and Health Survey (CCAHS). This survey provides a nationally representative measure of the population with antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Between April and August 2022, 54% of Canadian adults – or about 16.4 million Canadians – had antibodies indicating a past infection to SARS-CoV-2. That is more than 20 times higher than the 2.6% observed in early 2021.

In addition, by the same time, four out of ten Canadians were unaware that they ever had COVID-19. Between April and August 2022, nearly all Canadian adults (98.1%) had antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, acquired through vaccination, a previous infection or both. The survey also suggests that while younger Canadians were more likely to have been infected since the start of the pandemic, older Canadians living in private dwellings were more likely to be unaware of their infection.

Read more at Yahoo

The U.S. HealthCare System, Post-COVID Emergency: 4 key Changes

The decision to end the COVID-19 public health emergency in May will institute sweeping changes across the health care system that go far beyond many people having to pay more for COVID tests. In response to the pandemic, the federal government in 2020 suspended many of its rules on how care is delivered. That transformed essentially every corner of American health care — from hospitals and nursing homes to public health and treatment for people recovering from addiction.

Now, as the government prepares to reverse some of those steps, here’s a glimpse at ways patients will be affected.

Read more at Benefits Pro

Siena Poll: New York Voters Back Taxing Rich

A Siena College poll released on Monday found. But at the same time, Democrats, Republicans and independent voters are backing a legislative proposal that would increase taxes on people who earn more than $5 million a year in New York. Gov. Kathy Hochul and state lawmakers are debating provisions that could lead to higher taxes for wealthy New Yorkers as well as changes to the state's bail law as part of a $227 billion budget that is due to pass by Saturday.

Hochul has kept to a pledge to not support tax rate increases as Democratic state lawmakers want to see the personal income tax rate for people who earn $5 million and higher grow from 10.3% to 10.8%, and those earning more than $25 million from 10.9% to 11.4%.

Read more at New York State of Politics

NY Changing Minimum Scores for ‘Proficiency’ in ELA, Math Tests

New York is changing the definition of student “proficiency” on state math and English language arts tests, calling last year’s lower scores the “new normal.” The changes come amid calls from teachers to “re-norm” tests so that students can pass with a lower score than in previous years, and the Board of Regents seems keen to make adjustments based on learning loss that occurred during the pandemic years.

A representative for the New York State Department of Education said “No decisions have been made about levels of student proficiency on the Grades 3-8 English Language Arts and Mathematics Tests that will be administered in spring 2023. This summer, a representative group of NYS teachers who participate in the standard-setting process will recommend the necessary achievement for each level of performance. This industry-standard, research-based methodology will determine what level of knowledge and skills is demanded by the learning standards and how that level is displayed on the test.”


Peak Fall Shipping Season is Already Shaping up as a Buyer’s Market

Retailers are gaining huge savings on ocean container transport as once sky-high shipping prices tumble toward pre-pandemic levels and companies delay signing annual contracts so they can bargain rates down even further. The average price for Asia-to-U.S. container trade has “fallen as dramatically as we’ve ever seen it fall,” said Jon Cargill, senior vice president and chief financial officer of Hobby Lobby Stores Inc.

Importers and container lines typically conclude agreements for the fall shipping season, when retailers stock up on consumer goods, by mid-April for contracts that take effect May 1. Companies say they are negotiating in a far different environment from last year, when retailers looking to replenish depleted inventories rushed to sign deals and paid record amounts to secure scarce space on container ships.

Read more at The WSJ

FDA Knew of Positive Test Months Before Latest Infant Formula Recall

A recent recall of infant formula was announced nearly three months after Food and Drug Administration officials first learned that some products at a major plant had tested positive for bacteria — a delay that mirrors the agency’s slow response to reports of food safety problems and infant deaths ahead of last year’s massive recall over the same type of bacteria.

In late February, formula giant Reckitt issued a press release recalling 145,000 cans of Enfamil ProSobee Simply Plant-Based Infant Formula over the “possibility of cross-contamination with Cronobacter sakazakii” — the deadly pathogen that sparked the infant formula crisis last year. Dozens of news outlets covered this as breaking news, recommending parents and caregivers toss the products or return them for a refund.

Read more at The WSJ

Largest Strike in Decades Brings Germany to a Standstill

Airports and bus and train stations across Germany were at a standstill on Monday, causing disruption for millions at the start of the working week during one of the largest walkouts in decades as Europe's biggest economy reels from inflation. The 24-hour strikes called by the Verdi trade union and railway and transport union EVG were the latest in months of industrial action which has hit major European economies as higher food and energy prices dent living standards.

Employees are pressing for higher wages to blunt the effects of inflation, which reached 9.3% in February. Persistent cost pressures have pushed central banks to a series of interest rate increases, though policymakers have said it is too early to talk of a price-wage spiral. Verdi is negotiating on behalf of around 2.5 million employees in the public sector, including in public transport and at airports, while EVG negotiates for around 230,000 employees at Deutsche Bahn and bus companies.

Read more at Reuters

New UAW Leader Vows “More Aggressive Approach” Toward Employers

United Auto Workers members have ousted their president in the union’s first direct election, ushering in a new era for the prominent organized labor group ahead of negotiations later this year with the Detroit automakers. The union’s new leader will be Shawn Fain, a member of the “UAW Members United” reform group and local leader for a Stellantis  parts plant in Indiana. He came out ahead in a runoff election by hundreds of votes over incumbent Ray Curry, who was appointed president by union leaders in 2021.

Fain, in a statement Saturday, thanked UAW members who voted in the election. He also hailed the results as a historic change in direction for the embattled union, which he says will take a “more aggressive approach” with its employers. “This election was not just a race between two candidates, it was a referendum on the direction of the UAW. For too long, the UAW has been controlled by leadership with a top-down, company union philosophy who have been unwilling to confront management, and as a result, we’ve seen nothing but concessions, corruption, and plant closures,” Fain said.

Read more at CNBC

Ford to Build 500,000 EV Trucks a Year at Tennessee Plant

Ford F 0.79%increase; green up pointing triangle Motor Co. plans to build 500,000 electric trucks a year at its forthcoming manufacturing complex in Tennessee, one of the auto maker’s largest commitments yet to expanding battery-powered options in the highly competitive pickup-truck market. The Dearborn, Mich., car company said Friday it plans to start production of its next-generation electric truck in 2025 at a new factory campus, called Blue Oval City, located about 50 miles from Memphis. This truck will follow the rollout last year of the Ford F-150 Lightning, an all-electric version of its bestselling full-size pickup.

The 500,000-truck production target for Tennessee represents a significant step up in manufacturing capacity for the company’s line of pickup trucks, historically among its biggest moneymakers. Last year, Ford built about one million trucks overall at several plants in North America. The company expects to win over new buyers with the next-generation EV pickup. With the Lightning, 70% to 80% of customers are new to Ford, he added.

Read more at The WSJ

Aerospace Executives Go to Trial Over Alleged No-Poach Deals

Federal prosecutors are scheduled to begin a trial Monday in which a former Pratt & Whitney manager is accused of conspiring with his suppliers to prevent them from poaching one another’s workers, in a new test of the government’s more aggressive antitrust strategy. The case, in federal court in Bridgeport, Conn., is the latest example of a new category of prosecution: collusion among employers to restrict workers’ mobility or wages.

The trial centers on Mahesh Patel, a former director at Pratt & Whitney who was in charge of its relationships with suppliers. Mr. Patel allegedly conspired with five executives of Pratt’s suppliers not to hire or recruit one another’s engineers or other skilled workers. Robert Harvey, Harpreet Wasan, Steven Houghtaling, Tom Edwards and Gary Prus also were charged. Prosecutors said the aim of the alleged conspiracy was to hold down labor costs and preserve the companies’ profit margins.

Read more at the WSJ

Chinese Moon Mission Finds a Potential Water Reservoir in Lunar Soil

The moon's soil is full of water, say scientists. A fresh 'reservoir' has been discovered - inside fragments of glass 'beads' formed millions of years ago during asteroid bombardments. They were identified during an analysis of lunar materials returned to Earth by China's Chang'e-5 mission. Co-author Professor Hu Sen, of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, said: "These findings indicate the impact glasses on the surface of the moon and other airless bodies in the solar system are capable of storing solar wind-derived water and releasing it into space."

It has implications for humans one day living in other moons and planets. The world's wealthiest entrepreneurs including Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Sir Richard Branson are exploring the idea of permanent housing on the moon and Mars.They would have their own ecosystems with trees, plants - and water. The lander equipped with a digger and robotic arm touched down on December 2020 in an area known as the 'Ocean of Storms'.

Read more at Wales Online