ASA Insights
May. 10, 2012

All New PVF Publication Targets End Users
American Supply Association
PVF Outlook, a new publication sponsored by ASA, will debut in June 2012. With a total circulation of 20,000, PVF Outlook will reach ASA member end-users in the following fields:

"By reaching out to end users in these fields, we can provide a detailed overview of the PVF industry that was not made readily available to them before," said Mike Adelizzi, ASA Executive Vice President. "We are also accelerating the relationship-building process at the same time. This is a win-win for all involved." For more details regarding PVF Outlook, please contact Scott Franz at BNP Media.More

Did You Miss ASA's Webinar on Labor Issues?
American Supply Association
On April 26, ASA members were presented a webinar by Maurice Baskin of Venable LLC, a top management attorney who has represented several employers before the U.S. Supreme Court. Baskin focused his presentation on two issues that specifically impact employers, most importantly the "Notice Posting" rule, which has been delayed, and the "Ambush Election" rule, which is a blatant form of "card check" that ASA has long opposed. Unfortunately, the "Ambush Election" rule went into effect April 30, and the federal district court judge in Washington, D.C., has not yet issued a decision on the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace's pending challenge to the rule. Please click here to view a replay of ASA's April 26 webinar.More

EEOC Could Make Copper Theft More Difficult to Prevent
American Supply Association
Recently, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission took a major step toward removing employer's rights to properly conduct criminal background checks on potential hires. For the first time in 22 years, the EEOC issued new guidance outlining what an employer should and should not do with respect to a person's criminal history. Among many troubling things is the absence of transparency in devising this change. The fact is, this is guidance and not a regulation. Regulations enable the public and key stakeholders to offer their views as they are updated; guidance does not.More

Nine Tasks Congress Can't Avoid
The Hill
Congress is on track to ignore most major tax and spending decisions until the lame-duck session or beyond but there are some bills that just can't wait. For these, Congress will have to take a break from the campaign trail and work together — even if the result is to simply extend the status quo. The following is a list of must-pass legislation.More

Copper Drops to Three-Week Low on European Worries
Reuters
Copper fell to its lowest level in three weeks Wednesday, sinking below $8,000 per tonne in London at one point, as political turmoil in Greece heightened fears about Europe's deepening debt crisis and its impact on demand for raw materials. The mounting worries in Europe amplified expectations of softer exports from China, the region's largest trade partner, on Thursday. That helped drag copper down for a fifth straight day and toward a key technical support area.More

Plumbing Among Blue Collar Jobs Luring People Away From College
Business Insider
Even with student debt reaching $1 trillion, high school graduates still are seeking out traditional degrees in record numbers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 68 percent of the high school class of 2010 was enrolled in college by the following October (that's 2.2 million wide-eyed freshmen). But in this troubled and radically changing economy, a college education may not be the first must-have step down the path to financial success.More

The Geography of US Manufacturing
The Washington Post
Since 2010, manufacturing jobs have made a very modest comeback in the United States — although not nearly enough to reverse a long, three-decade slide. (Between 1979 and 2010, the U.S. economy lost 7.9 million manufacturing jobs; since then, it's gained just 350,000.) So what jobs still remain? The Brookings Institution has a fascinating new report on the geography of U.S. manufacturing jobs that delves into this topic, and a few charts stand out.More

Iron Ore: Slow Demand Steadies Prices; China Debuts Platform
Reuters
Spot iron ore prices were hardly changed on Tuesday as slow steel demand in China limited buying appetite and raised concern the world's biggest steel producer may need to curb a record pace of output. A cargo of Australian Pilbara iron ore fines was sold via China's first physical trading platform, which began physical trading on Tuesday, at $145 a tonne, including freight cost, at par with current market levels, traders said. The platform, run by China Beijing International Mining Exchange, is the country's latest effort to boost its price-setting influence and wrest control away from giant foreign suppliers.More

Steel Use, Production Up Sharply in China, US and Turkey
Examiner.com
China's crude steel production reached 2.031 million tonnes a day in April. China crude steel production increased sharply by 25 percent year-on-year to 174.22 million metric tons in the first quarter of 2012. China's government says manufacturing activity continued to recover in April, with an index of purchasing managers' sentiment rising for the fifth straight month.More

ISM Issues Positive Report on US Manufacturing
Modern Materials Handling
Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in April for the 33rd consecutive month, as the overall economy grew for the 35th consecutive month. According to the latest monthly report issued by the Institute of Supply Management, the Manufacturing ISM Report On Business is based on data provided monthly by purchasing executives at more than 350 industrial companies. It reflects changes in the current month compared with the previous month. Responses are raw data.More

5 Ways to Introduce Flexible Work Schedules into Manufacturing Operations
IndustryWeek
Facebook senior executive Sheryl Sandberg recently made headlines for her long-term commitment to 40-hour workweeks. Each day, she leaves the office at 5:30 p.m. in order to be home at night with her children. Is this really so radical an idea that it merits international media coverage? Have North American companies become such sweatshops that the traditional workweek is now considered minimum fare? Coverage of Sandberg's "confession," as it were, would suggest the answer is yes, but there also is more to the story. New research shows that employers are slowly backing off of overtime demands.More