ASA Insights
Jun. 21, 2012

Finding the Answers at NetworkASA 2012
American Supply Association
Many will attend NetworkASA 2012 on Oct. 17-20 at the Hilton Bonnet Creek in Orlando, Fla., for the networking portion of the program, to meet with industry partners and to catch up and make plans for the future. In addition, the event is a prime opportunity for attendees to gather information that is needed to help grow their companies. How? Through the many educational seminars and presentations that are offered. Recently confirmed as a NetworkASA 2012 speaker is Michael Werner, President and CEO of Globe Union Group Inc., North American division, who will provide an overview of how companies can envision the future as well as how technology advances will alter the PHCP and PVF industry. In addition, currently being added to the program is a panel of manufacturers and distributors who will provide a town hall presentation on topics such as Employee Stock Ownership Plans (ESOPs) and the ongoing lead-free issue. Click here for all NetworkASA 2012 details and watch for regular program updates in the next several weeks.More

MwDA Continues Busy Spring for Regional Events
American Supply Association
The Midwest Distributors Association (MwDA), the regional affiliate that represents Region 2 of the American Supply Association, held its third annual Executive Leadership Conference in St. Louis on June 12-14. Initial feedback from attendees representing 21 different companies suggests a BIG WIN as evidenced by this photo of MwDA President Tim Milford from Milford Supply.More

Hill Sides with Industry, Noting Problems with LEED 2012
The Hill
Chemical makers are bristling at proposed green building standards that they feel unfairly target their products. Major business groups are lobbying lawmakers to take a look at the proposed standards from the U.S. Green Building Council, warning jobs will be lost if they are embraced by the federal government. More

Corporate Political Spending: Why the New Critics Are Wrong
Manhattan Institute
Since the Supreme Court's 2010 Citizens United decision held that corporate political expenditures are free speech under the First Amendment, various groups and individuals have advocated imposing new limits on corporate political activity. These efforts include calls on shareholders to demand that corporations refrain from involvement in the political process. Such demands have been buttressed by an emergent academic literature which, in contrast to what had been an established perspective, has questioned whether corporate financial contributions and even lobbying are actually in the interest of corporate shareholders.More

Fed Ramps Up Economic Stimulus, Ready to Do More
Reuters
The U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday delivered another round of monetary stimulus and said it was ready to do even more to help an increasingly fragile U.S. economic recovery. The central bank expanded its "Operation Twist" by $267 billion, meaning it will sell that amount of short-term securities to buy longer-term ones to keep long-term borrowing costs down. The program, which was due to expire this month, will now run through the end of the year.More

Housing Starts Up 25% in May Year-Over-Year
Modern Distribution Management
Privately owned housing starts in May were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 780,000, 7.9% above April and 25% above May 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Single-family housing starts in May were at a rate of 494,000, 4% above the revised April figure of 475,000. The May rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 266,000.More

Manufacturing Growth Slows; Labor Market Struggling
Reuters
Manufacturing grew in June at its slowest pace in 11 months and hiring in the sector slowed as overseas demand for U.S. products waned, an industry survey showed Thursday. The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits was also little changed last week, according to the U.S. Labor Department. Financial information firm Markit said its U.S. "flash" manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index fell to 52.9 from 54.0 in May. The June reading was the lowest since last July although it stayed above 50, indicating expansion in activity.More

Could Africa be the World's Next Manufacturing Hub?
CNN
With domestic labor costs rising, many Asian manufacturing producers are now looking to relocate their factories in other regions of the world. Could Africa replace Asia and/or China as the world's next manufacturing hub? To be sure, Africa has a number of manufacturing advantages that it has yet to realize. Besides low labor costs and abundant resources, these include duty-free and quota-free access to U.S. and EU markets for light manufactures under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act and the Cotonou Agreement. Is this enough to offset Sub-Saharan Africa's generally low labor productivity relative to that of its Asian competitors?More

Rebecca O. Bagley: Changing Manufacturing in a Changing World
Forbes
One thing we've learned over the past several decades is that we live in an ever-changing world. There was a time when America was the unquestioned global leader in manufacturing. That changed to include Germany and Japan — which, in turn, changed to include China and other nations. Now, there is ample evidence that our world is changing or about to change once again. Are we ready for this change and will this change be good for us? More