ASA Insights
Jul. 12, 2012

Communicating Political Views in the Workplace: FREE ASA Webinar Next Thursday
American Supply Association
Need help discussing your opinions on the upcoming elections, the recent ruling on the 3,000-page Affordable Care Act, LIFO or political issues in general with your employees? If you have not done so already, register today for a FREE webinar titled Communicating Political Views in the Workplace: Do's and Don'ts, Thursday, July 19, at 1 p.m. Eastern. Featured webinar presenter will be Bethany Dame, BIPAC Senior Vice President, Advocacy, who will discuss best practices regarding how to communicate political issues with your employees. Click here for full webinar details including online registration information. More

Recognize Safety Excellence at Your Company
American Supply Association
Nominations for ASA's 2011 Member Safety Recognition Awards, to be presented during NetworkASA 2012 in Orlando, Fla., will be accepted through Friday, Aug. 17. A total of six awards will be presented, three in the distributor category and three in the manufacturer category, based on the number of safe hours worked throughout 2011. The award program was created to elevate awareness in all aspects of the PHCP and PVF industry, and to recognize ASA members that have had the lowest incident rate of nonfatal injuries and illnesses throughout the previous year. Those who would like to recognize safety excellence within their companies are encouraged to click here to obtain a nomination form that outlines all award details. Please contact Ben Stephens at 630-467-0000, ext. 203, for more information.More

Trade Deficit Narrows on Exports, Cheaper Oil
Reuters
The trade deficit narrowed slightly in May as lower oil prices and a rise in exports, including those bound for Europe and China, eased the pain of a slowdown in the broader economy. The gap shrank 3.8% to $48.7 billion, the U.S. Commerce Department said Wednesday. Exports, which have been a key support for the economy since the 2007-2009 recession, climbed 0.2%, rising across categories from capital goods and industrial supplies to consumer goods. Imports fell 0.7%, dragged down by the drop in oil prices.More

May Wholesale Revenues Down 0.8% from April
Modern Distribution Management
May 2012 wholesale revenues were $409.6 billion, down 0.8% from April but up 5.7% from May 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. May sales of durable goods were up 0.6% from last month and up 9 percent from a year ago. Sales of nondurable goods were down 1.9% from April but up 3.2% from last May. Inventories of wholesalers were $484.1 billion at the end of May, up 0.3% from April and up 6.4% from May 2011. May inventories of durable goods were up 0.6% from last month and up 10.1% from a year ago.More

C-Level Bonuses Increase by 13%
Brooke Chase Associates
Brooke Chase Associates contacted more than 30,945 industry professionals for its Wage and Salary Survey. An analysis was conducted of various compensation levels comprising the Building Products Industry. Finding the best balance of benefits, salary, bonuses, commissions, stock options and then implementing a compensation strategy are important to attracting, motivating and retaining key employees, and as such the survey can be an instrumental tool.More

Industrial Metals, Oil Fall as New Signs of China's Economic Slowdown Raise Demand Questions
The Associated Press via The Washington Post
Industrial metals and oil prices are dropping as new signs of a slowdown in the Chinese economy suggest that demand for basic materials will weaken. China said Tuesday that its trade growth plunged last month because demand softened in Europe and in the U.S. Imports grew at a rate of 6.3%, about half the level in May. Export growth was 11.3%, compared with 15.3% in May. Growth in Chinese manufacturing also fell to the lowest level in seven months. Factories there have cut purchases of raw materials because of weaker demand.More

Seven Steps to Avoid Employment Claims
Industrial Distribution
Start with 150 million U.S. employees at any given moment, add tens of thousands of pages of Employment Laws, and you have a recipe for a significant amount of employment litigation. Complicating matters further, employment law continually is expanding. If your company has not already been a party to an employment complaint, it could well be vulnerable. Following these seven guidelines is a start to significantly reducing your company's exposure.More

Orders to US Factories Rise for First Time in Three Months
Bloomberg
Orders placed with U.S. factories rose in May for the first time in three months, easing concern that manufacturing is faltering. Auto sales for June also exceeded analysts' estimates. The 0.7% increase in bookings followed a revised 0.7% drop in the prior month, the Commerce Department said in Washington. The median forecast of economists in a Bloomberg News survey called for a rise to 0.1%.More

Homing In on a Better Economy
The Wall Street Journal
It is the third summer in a row that fears of an economic stumble have come to the fore, but this time there is a big difference: Housing isn't rolling over. To the contrary, amid a spate of otherwise lackluster-to-disappointing economic data, housing reports have been a bright spot. Monday's report on May home construction and last week's figures on May new-home sales and pending sales of previously owned homes all topped economists' estimates. Quarterly results from Lennar and KB Home last week soundly beat expectations.More