ASA Insights
Feb. 23, 2012

Your Chance to Tell Congress EXACTLY What You Think
American Supply Association
At ASA's Legislative Fly-In May 15-16 in Washington, D.C., members of Congress will be looking to meet with their constituents to hear from you on how their performance is affecting your business. With more than 450 members of the House and Senate preparing to ask you to hire them again for another term, this is a good opportunity to reach out and educate them on PHCP and PVF industry issues. You will have the chance to personally inform them how their votes will affect your business and also communicate your ability to remain a viable employer that creates jobs in their districts. As the voice of the PHCP and PVF industry, ASA has an obligation to advocate for key issues on which our elected officials may not be "up to speed." Full program information was mailed to ASA members this week; you also can click here for further details and to get in on the action.More

ASA Distributor Members Start Out 2012 With a Bang
American Supply Association
American Supply Association distributor members started 2012 with a robust 13.2 percent improvement in revenues as compared to 2011; up 25.8 percent as compared to 2010 and up 13.2 percent as compared to 2009. The plumbing, heating and pipe, valve and fitting distributors are also up 9.1 percent on a trailing 12-month basis; the highest level since the data has been compiled beginning with 2008. Geographically, all regional monthly revenues showed double-digit positive growth with the exception of the Michigan, Indiana and Ohio markets, which were up 7.5 percent. Distributors with less than $10 million in annual revenues had significantly less growth, reporting in at only a 2.8 percent increase. The industrial pipe, valve and fitting segment was on fire, showing a very hearty 27.5 percent growth for 2012 and a 17.8 percent growth on a trailing 12-month basis.More

President's Budget: Repeals LIFO, Increases Taxes Rates on Small Businesses
American Supply Association
In Washington there is an old saying, "A budget is nothing more than a plan…and plans change." Many in the opposition have been quick to say that President Barack Obama's budget is a "political document," but what does that mean exactly? Both sides of the aisle are guilty of rhetorical flourishes and declarations of what their budget would do. This past week, for example, members of the Senate claimed their budget would eliminate the Department of Education and 90 percent of the Department of Energy. But does any voter really believe that will happen? Today the budget process has devolved into the creation of dueling wish lists designed to attract support in the political base, rather than accomplishing actual progress that the majority could support.More

Focus on Racking Risks, Safety March 14
American Supply Association
ASA's Safety Committee will be presenting a FREE webinar, Industrial Steel Storage Racks - Minimizing Your Risk Over the Life Cycle, at 2 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, March 14. Presenting the webinar will be John Nofsinger, Managing Director of the Rack Manufacturers Institute, and Dave Olson, President of RMI. Everyone is invited to attend, although the webinar is specifically targeted to those personnel at your facilities who have or soon will be participating in a rack storage installation. The webinar also will be particularly beneficial for those individuals who create safety procedures and implement OSHA requirements within your company. Please click here for more details and to register online.More

OSHA Releases Fall Regulatory Agenda
U.S. General Services Administration
On Jan. 20, the Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration released its fall 2011 regulatory agenda on its website. It reveals that OSHA's top priorities include small business review of an injury and illness prevention program rule, a request for information on revision of OSHA's permissible chemical exposure limits, and a projected release date for long-awaited silica exposure regulations. In addition to these ambitious efforts, the agency is considering more stringent record-keeping requirements for covered employers and new infectious disease control requirements of importance to the health care industry.More

Copper Falls on Demand Concerns, China Data
Copper eased Wednesday, paring the previous session's sharp gains, with confidence rattled by weak export and manufacturing data from top consumer China and uncertainty over Greece's ability to implement tough reforms aimed at cutting its debt. Benchmark copper on the London Metal Exchange closed at $8,435 a tonne in official rings, from Tuesday's close of $8,449 a tonne. Copper has gained more than 11 percent this year, partly buoyed by hopes demand from China — which consumes 40 percent of the world's copper — would pick up after the Lunar New Year in January. But demand from the commodity consuming giant has remained slack, raising worry that prices could retreat sharply.More

Manufacturing Rebounds, but is it a Renaissance?
McClatchy Newspapers via The Miami Herald
Don't tell Michael W. McLanahan that manufacturing in the United States is dead. His family-owned, privately held company has made mineral processing and farm equipment since its founding way back in 1835 — and is enjoying a boom. "It was our best year ever," said McLanahan, during a tour of the busy factory in central Pennsylvania that illustrates why manufacturing is growing twice as fast as the broader economy.More