Global Economy, Economic Environment, Labor, Leadership, Human Resources, Staff Training & Development
Recent data from the Programme for International Student Assessment and a new survey of adult skills highlight significant skills deficits for U.S. students and adults relative to their counterparts in key regions of the world. The situation appears especially difficult in the math arena.
Global Economy, Competitiveness, Government Policy, Economic Environment, Energy
Over the next few years, five structural developments will dominate the scene in Latin America and will have definite impacts on U.S. manufacturing companies doing business there. Three relate to large energy projects that will both demand manufactured goods and lower manufacturing costs, stimulating production and economic growth. In Brazil, the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics are triggering opportunities across manufacturing sectors. Finally, Mexico’s politicians are attempting to tackle the lack of competitiveness of their economy, an effort with benefits for the nation’s export-oriented industrial sector.
Manufacturing sector activity, as measured by the Federal Reserve Board’s industrial production index, grew by just 2.3% in 2013, down from 3.9% in 2012. Activity in the fourth quarter, however, grew at an annualized rate of 6.2%. Despite relatively slow growth, various benchmarks indicate that the manufacturing sector’s overall financial performance in the third quarter of 2013 improved on a year-over-year basis and is vastly better than it was during the contraction as the Great Recession took hold. If, as MAPI forecasts, manufacturing activity grows at a faster rate in 2014 and 2015, the solid financial performance of the past year should continue.
Operations, Information Technology, IT Policies, IT Security, Risk & Compliance, Legal, Labor & Employment Practices
“Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) is the practice through which employees use their personally owned computing devices to connect to their employers’ computer networks. Companies that allow BYOD should consider adopting an effective policy providing important guidance regarding employee–employer interaction, addressing employer access, security, compliance with company policies, and geographical limitations.
China achieved its position as the largest manufacturing economy through extremely fast growth in physical volume of manufacturing activity and modest inflation. When accounting for population, however, China has high manufacturing intensity for a developing economy but is well behind advanced countries such as the United States.
Global Economy, Money & Finance, Government Finance
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 is small and imperfect, but the fact that there is a deal at all in such a deeply divided Congress is progress. The two-year framework would result in approximately $23 billion in net deficit reduction over 10 years. It contains $85 billion in savings through spending cuts and new revenue.
Global Economy, Competitiveness, Government Policy, Risk & Compliance, Legal, Intellectual Property, Patents, Patent Protection
Intellectual property is the driving force and number one asset of every manufacturing company. It’s why Coke locks its secret recipe in a vault. Why Apple and Samsung pursue multiyear, multimillion-dollar litigation.
The Eurozone faces a period of low prices, languishing real (inflation-adjusted) wages, suppressed consumption, and barely growing fixed investment in the years to come. Forecasts put Eurozone GDP growth at about 1 percent in 2014, and manufacturing output is set to expand close to 2 percent. The region suffers from an overreliance on external demand for generating income. The private sector is income-constrained and will struggle to provide a boost. Banks are shoring up balance sheets following failures of some large and small institutions. As a result, the current efforts led by the European Central Bank to improve capital adequacy are crowding out private sector lending. The Eurozone is stuck with an export growth strategy that combined with weak domestic demand means GDP projections probably overstate both the length and strength of recovery.
The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement is the most extensive trade deal ever signed by Canada, and could be a template for the TTIP between the EU and the United States. The agreement will abolish most tariffs on merchandise trade between the largest consumer market in the world and tiny Canada, but it will also have far-reaching implications for investment, service trade, labor markets and regulations on both sides of the Atlantic.