ASA Insights
Oct. 11, 2012

FREE Safety Webinar: Operator Up Lift Trucks and Aerial Work Platforms
American Supply Association
Working on elevated surfaces can be very dangerous if the proper precautions are not taken. In fact, falls from elevated surfaces are one of the leading causes of workplace fatalities. Many of these falls occur due to improper use of safety gear, faulty equipment or improper training. Maintenance workers using aerial work platforms such as scissor lifts and boom lifts and those who use operator up lift trucks such as order pickers and swing reaches are especially at risk. The ASA Safety Committee will be hosting a FREE online webinar regarding the do's and don'ts of operator up lift trucks and aerial work platforms on Wednesday, Oct. 31, at 2 p.m. Eastern.More

Appointment Scheduler to Run Through NetworkASA 2012
American Supply Association
Attention all NetworkASA 2012 attendees! For your convenience, we are keeping the Facetime Appointment Scheduler software live and open all the way through NetworkASA 2012. This will allow last-minute changes to be made up until it is time for appointments. Click here for an updated list of participating manufacturer companies and contact Ruth Mitchell at 630-467-0000, ext. 210, for any last-minute details. As a final reminder, please remember to complete and print out your Wholesaler and Vendor Conference Appointments schedule to take with you to your meetings. We look forward to seeing you next week in Orlando!More

ASA Members Share Strategic Pricing Results
American Supply Association
On Thursday, Nov. 15, at 2 p.m. Eastern, you are invited to learn how two ASA member distributors evolved from a culture of undisciplined and reactive pricing practices to a more strategic approach, and how this change affected their margins. Panelists Chris Bohn from APR Supply and Larry McMullin from Harry Cooper Supply will discuss how Strategic Pricing Associates can help ASA members to increase margins by 2 to 4 points and improve pricing discipline. Click here to register online today.More

US Job Openings Edge Lower, Quits Hold Steady
Reuters
The number of U.S. job openings fell slightly in August, a troubling sign for a labor market that is recovering at a painfully slow pace. Job openings — a measure of labor demand — dropped to 3.56 million from 3.59 million in July, the Labor Department said Wednesday in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. The data casts a small shadow over recent signs of improvement in the labor market. Government data last week showed the U.S. unemployment rate unexpectedly dropped to 7.8 percent in September, its lowest level since President Barack Obama took office. That was seen as providing a boost to Obama's re-election bid.More

Survey: US Firms Less Optimistic, but Will Still Invest in China
Reuters
Many U.S. companies are less optimistic about doing business in China even though sales there are still rising, and most of those firms are planning to increase investment, according to an annual survey of business executives released on Wednesday. "The China market continues to deliver sales growth and profitability for U.S. companies, but rising costs, increasing competition, and persistent market access and regulatory barriers are tempering the optimism of U.S. companies doing business with China," the U.S.-China Business Council said.More

Construction Sector Adds 5,000 Jobs Between August and September as Industry's Unemployment Rate Hits 11.9%
AGC of America
Construction employers added 5,000 jobs in September while the industry's unemployment rate hit 11.9%, according to an analysis of new federal data released today by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials cautioned that construction employment has been relatively flat for more than a year as growing demand for residential and some commercial projects has been offset by declining public sector construction activity.More

US Manufacturers Turning Lean Attention to Factory Labor
Supply Chain Digest
Despite the wide adoption of Lean practices by thousands of U.S. manufacturers large and small, many companies are seeing more opportunities to get still Leaner — by focusing on shop floor employees. The changes not only reduce costs, they can give companies the potential to remain at least marginally profitable even during economic downturns, as the near death experience of 2009 for many created a new sense of urgency.More

Worldsteel Cuts Global Steel Demand Growth View
MarketWatch
Global demand for steel is forecast to slow this year and next as the European debt crisis and a cooling Chinese economy crimp use of the metal, the World Steel Association said Thursday. Demand is expected to grow at a slower-than-expected rate of 2.1% this year, compared with the association's April forecast for 3.6% growth, and 3.2% next year. These latest demand growth rate forecasts are much lower than the 6.2% recorded last year. The association, whose members account for about 85% of the world's steel output, forecasts global apparent steel demand rising to 1.409 billion tons this year.More

Copper Consumption in China to Drop for First Time Since '08
Bloomberg
Copper consumption in China will contract this year for the first time since 2008 as demand falters and inventories climb in the largest user, before rebounding in 2013, according to Simon Hunt Strategic Services. Consumption will drop about 8.5% to 5.6 million metric tons in 2012, said Simon Hunt, chief executive officer of the Weybridge, Surrey-based consultancy, which compiles analysis for users and fabricators. Next year, usage may grow 5.6% to 5.9 million tons, Hunt said in an interview in Singapore after visiting China for two weeks last month.More