ASA Insights
Oct. 20, 2012

Third Quarter 2012 Tops Largest on Record
American Supply Association
September 2012 finished the third quarter with an increase in work day revenues of 3.6% over 2011 which is the largest growth quarter since records have been kept. 3Q12 was 16.8% over 2010; an incredible 37.3% over 2009 and 31.9% over 2008. For American Supply Association members, there was a 6.5% increase reported in per day revenues as compared to the same month in 2011; up 20.5% as compared to 2010.More

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

US Housing Construction Jumps to Four-Year High
The Associated Press via Houston Chronicle
U.S. builders started construction on homes in September at the fastest rate since July 2008 and made plans to build even more homes in the coming months. The gains show the housing recovery is strengthening and could help the economy grow. The Commerce Department said Wednesday that home construction rose 15% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 872,000. Single-family construction rose 11 percent to the fastest rate in four years. Apartment building increased 25.1%.More

Copper Up on US Earnings, Spain Rating
CNBC via Reuters
Copper extended gains into a second session on Wednesday following strong U.S. earnings reports and after Moody's Investors Service affirmed Spain's investment grade, soothing some fears over the euro zone economy.More

China September Steel, Oil Output Bounce Points to Recovery Ahead
Reuters
China's crude steel output and refinery throughput rose in September, with higher fixed asset investments and industrial output signaling that appetite for bulk commodities and energy in the world's leading buyer is on the mend. Although annual growth of 7.4% in the July-September quarter represented a seventh straight slowing in the world's second-largest economy, analysts said a modest recovery in the last quarter was in sight and China's appetite for raw materials would keep growing, though at a slower pace.More

Research: US Skills Gap in Manufacturing isn't as Bad as Feared
The Boston Globe
A shortage of U.S. manufacturing skills isn't as bad as feared, according to new research by the Boston Consulting Group. BCG estimates that the U.S. is short some 80,000 to 100,000 highly skilled manufacturing workers, which works out to less than 1 percent of the nation's 11.5 million manufacturing workers. And in many cases, the skill shortages are localized. Baton Rouge, La.; Charlotte, N.C.; Miami, San Antonio, and Wichita, Kan., for example, appear to have significant or severe skills gaps, BCG said. One cause for concern: The average U.S. high-skilled manufacturing worker is 56 years old.More

Manufacturers to Train Veterans for Factory Jobs
Reuters
Four of the largest U.S. manufacturers have unveiled plans for a new group committed to train military veterans to work in the manufacturing sector. General Electric Co., Alcoa Inc., Boeing Co. and Lockheed-Martin Corp. said they would provide financial support to the "Get Skills to Work Coalition." It will initially aim to train 15,000 veterans, who will be hired by the four companies or matched to other jobs. Open jobs will be listed on LinkedIn.More

Markit Index of Manufacturing in US Held at 51.5 in September
Bloomberg
The Markit Economics preliminary index of U.S. manufacturing held at 51.5 in September from a month earlier, the London-based group said. A reading of 50 in the purchasing managers' measure is the dividing line between expansion and contraction. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists was 51.5. Estimates ranged from 50 to 52.More

Poll: Businesses, Manufacturers Say They are Worse Off Than Three Years Ago
The Hill
A majority of small businesses and manufacturers say the economy is worse for them than it was three years ago, providing a harsh review of the economic climate less than six weeks away from the elections. In a poll, 55% said federal regulations, taxes, government spending and the cost of health insurance and energy have hurt the economy and their businesses, according to a survey by the National Association of Manufacturers and the National Federation of Independent Business.More