ASA Insights
Jan. 17, 2013

House Advances More Sandy Aid for Northeast
American Supply Association
This week, the House moved to complete its commitment to those whose lives have been disrupted by Hurricane Sandy by passing disaster assistance totaling $50.5 billion. The legislation passed a divided house by being broken into two pieces: a base bill of $17 billion, and another in the form of an amendment by New Jersey Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J. The amendment provides an additional $33 billion in disaster assistance for various longer-term recovery efforts and additional repairs to housing, transit, businesses, and more. It also funds improvements to infrastructure in order to help address possible damages from future disasters. The amendment was adopted with a vote of 228-192. To see more about the legislation and other amendments that were adopted, click here.More

Morris Beschloss: US Labor Department Unemployment Figures Defy Rational Analysis
The Desert News
While the U.S. labor markets were in pretty good shape during the period between the Reagan economic recovery (1982-1988) and the first term George W. Bush rebound (2001-2006), the unemployment rate didn't matter much. Hanging in around the 5-6% mark, the ebbs and flows of the employment scenario carried little wallop as far as astute economic observers and analysts were concerned.More

What are Obama's Gun Control Proposals? An Easy Guide
The sweeping gun-control package that President Barack Obama unveiled Wednesday includes proposals to ban assault weapons, limit high-capacity magazines, and improve mental health care. Many of the proposals will need congressional approval, but also included are several executive actions Obama plans to take. The proposals were developed by a task force led by Vice President Joe Biden in the aftermath of the mass shooting last month at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.More

Outlook for Construction Improves for 2013 as More Firms Plan to Hire, Raise Bid Levels, Expect Key Private Sector Markets to Expand
AGC of America
Significantly more construction firms are planning to add new staff than plan to cut staff while demand for many types of private sector construction projects should increase this year according to survey results released today by the Associated General Contractors of America and Computer Guidance Corporation. The survey, conducted as part of Tentative Signs of a Recovery: The 2013 Construction Industry Hiring and Business Outlook, provides a generally optimistic outlook for the year even as firms worry about rising costs and declining public-sector demand for construction.More

Wholesale Prices Fall 0.2% in December
Modern Distribution Management
Wholesale prices fell 0.2% in December, seasonally adjusted, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Prices for finished goods fell 0.8% in November and 0.2% in October. At the earlier stages of processing, prices received by manufacturers of intermediate goods moved up 0.3%, and the crude goods index increased 2.5%.More

US Industrial Production Rose Modestly in December
The Associated Press via Industrial Distribution
U.S. industrial production likely rose only modestly in December, capping a slow year at American factories that weighed on economic growth. Economists are predicting that industrial production increased 0.2% in December from November, according to a survey by FactSet. In November, industrial production rose 1.1%. Factory output, the most important component, also was up 1.1%. But that was mostly because factories were rebounding from a steep decline in October caused by Superstorm Sandy.More

Supply Chain Consortium Reveals How Companies Improve Global Shipping
Industrial Distribution
Technology solutions and staff training top the list of initiatives that companies are using today to improve global shipping performance and reduce costs, according to the Global Trade Management Report. "Nearly three-quarters of companies are implementing technology solutions in addition to ensuring that their staffs are well-trained," says Bruce Tompkins, Executive Director of the Tompkins Supply Chain Consortium and author of the report. "About 12% report that they are also adding staff. It may not seem like a large number, but when compared to overall national hiring numbers, it is fairly significant."More

Lost Manufacturing Jobs: Good Riddance?
There is no question that the U.S. has lost an enormous number of manufacturing jobs to lower wage countries. These countries include mega economies like China and a number of smaller countries such as Vietnam that have large numbers of workers willing to work for low wages. Given the current high unemployment rate in the United States, it is understandable that politicians point out that we need to regain manufacturing jobs and that the loss of jobs to other countries is a major problem for the U.S.More