Employment Population Ratio- Good News

April 18, 2017

The BLS’s Employment Population Ratio was 60.1 in March 2017, its first time back over 60% since February 2009.

February 2009!

This indicator actually shows what it purports to, unlike the U-3 (headline) Unemployment rate.

Not since February 2009…

The U-3 Unemployment rate may actually fall if workers give up looking for work, as the labor market falters. As the labor market is recovering,  the U-3 unemployment rate can rise because more people are re- entering the labor force as they start to look for work again.

The Employment-Population ratio, because it is unaffected by voluntary changes in labor force participation, is a useful indicator of current labor market conditions. Lows in the employment-to- population ratio correspond with economic downturns. The employment-to-population ratio holds clear and discernible implications for the labor market, both among and between segments of the population.

The Employment-Population ratio is a useful indicator. And currently, a positive one.

BLS Employment Population Ratio


Thank You to My Readers

April 12, 2017

Actually, a million thank yous! Thanks to readers like you, SPEAKINGOFPRECISIONBLOG has over 1,000,000 views.

1,000,000 views!

Our first post  was from June 30, 2009 and remains as relevant to day as it did then: 5 Reasons to choose a Career in Precision Machining

We’ve come quite a way since that very first post!

What do you like? 

Our post on The Difference Between Accuracy and Precision Measurement in Your Machine Shop is our most popular with 44,445 views.

Hardness vs. Hardenability- There is a Difference is our second most popular post at 35,780 views.

5 Facts About Manganese in Steel, 7 Causes for Quench Cracking of Steel, and Why Manufacturing is the Right Career Choice- DATA! all came in between 21,000 and 30,000 views each.

Average number of times a post gets seen on PMPASPEAKINGOFPRECISIONBLOG: 1048 times.

1,000,000 is an aspirational number. How many of us get to measure anything that we do in quantities of millions?  (Actually, all of our shops do, they call it “normal production!”)

But as an individual, as someone sharing knowledge and experience- 1,000,000 views;  1,000,000 shares of information; 1,000,000 human to human connections- that is an unexpected and very satisfying validation.

Thank you for spending a small part of your day with me here at my blog.

Together, we’ll continue to make sense of the the issues that make a difference to all of us in North American Manufacturing.

Especially Precision Machining.

1,000,000 views!

Do I believe in the power of social media to help us connect and share?

You bet I do! 1,000,000 times YES!

Tooting Own Horn  photo credit.


Being Bullish on Our Business is No Bull!

March 21, 2017

 

Being bullish on precision manufacturing is a logical conclusion from the strength of these just released economic indicators.

 

The data gives strength to the bull for precision manufacturing.

The PMPA Business Trends Report has a sentiment indicator for Sales for three months ahead. In January 2017, that indicator exploded, up 40% from December’s already optimistic number. (see the blue line on the chart below.)

Sentiment for sales up 40% since last report!

But don’t take our word for it. Here are 7 economic indicators released last week that are at multi year highs:

  • Consumer Price Index (CPI) up 2.8% year over year in February, up from 0.9% in July and at a pace not seen since February 2012;
  • Producer Price Index (PPI) up 2.2% year over year, Highest year over year rate since May 2014;
  • Manufacturing Production up 0.5% in February. Manufacturing Output is up 1.2% over the last 12 months, fastest pace since April 2015;
  • Housing Market Index  hit a 12 year high, its highest level since June 2005;
  • Housing starts rose 3.0% in February. Single Family housing starts jumped from 819,000 to 872,000 a pace unseen since October 2007;
  • Index of Consumer Sentiment from University of Michigan was close to January’s reading which was the best reading for this indicator in 13 years;
  • Retail sales were reported at 5.7 % just below January’s 6.0% year over year pace, highest since 2012.

The weight of the evidence is clear.

The weight of the evidence makes it difficult to be anything but bullish on our business prospects.

What are YOU doing to take advantage of the opportunities that this strong economy is providing for YOUR precision machining shop?

Data courtesy Chad Moutray Ph.D., CBE, Chief Economist at National Association of Manufacturers Monday Economic Report

 


Feels like January 2012-The January 2017 PMPA Business Trends Up 24% Over December 2016

February 23, 2017

The PMPA Business Trends Report for January 2017 provides a statistical basis for the optimism that is sweeping our shops in this new year. With 81 shops reporting, our index reached its prior record high for January at 128, and is up almost 4% over the five year average for January, and up over 24% compared to December 2016. Read the full report to get the other indicators that make the case that you need to be actively growing and building your business in 2017.

Any questions?

Any questions?

Do not succumb to the temptation to reduce non-essential training and other support activities just so you can get shipments out the door. Continuous Improvement needs to happen every day-especially when your shop is busy!

And by the way, only 3% of our respondents were NOT optimistic about employment in the coming months. 97% certainly were.

Get the rest of the details here: January 2017 PMPA BT Report


Precision Machining Industry 2017 Forecast- Strongly Positive

January 30, 2017

PMPA’s December 2016 Business Trends Review and Summary showed our Industry shipments declined about 3.3% year over year. The index fell to 117 (Just 0.6 below the trailing five year average!) but down from 2015’s 121.

That was last year. What does 2017 look like for our precision machining shops?

Sentiment for Sales up sharply for first three months of 2017.

Expectations for Sales of Precision Machined Products are  up sharply for first three months of 2017.

 

According to PMPA’s Business Trends Report: Net Sales outlook for precision machined products exploded in this month’s survey with fifty-four percent of respondents expecting sales to increase in the first three months of 2017, and thirty-eight percent  expect sales to remain level.  Ninety-two percent of our shop respondents expect sales to remain level or increase in the next three months. All other sentiment indicators were positive as well: Lead Time, Employment, and Profitability.

PMPA members get the Business Trends Report monthly to help them calibrate to sales, hours scheduled, and outlook for Sales, Lead Time, Employment and Profitability of their peers.

What indicators do you use to make sense of the market  each month?

 


EU Commission- RoHS Exemptions Delayed Again

January 24, 2017

The current exemptions for Lead in work piece materials for our shops will remain in effect and will not expire until the EU Commission completes the current ongoing review of the applications.

They can fly the flags, but getting regulatory decisions on time is not something the EU commission does very well.

They can run the flags up the flagpoles on schedule, but getting regulatory decisions on time is not something the EU Commission does very well.

According to Electronics Industry Portal I-Connect007,  the EU is unlikely to publish  the RoHS exemptions any time soon. Apparently the EU Commission only got around to reviewing the requests last month.  December 15, 2016. December 2016!

And they are only now in the process of preparing draft legislation to be sent to the member states for consideration later this year.

Later this year!

Bottom Line for your precision machining shop and your customers:

  • A decision on the RoHS exemptions of interest to the precision machining industry is unlikely to be made until Fall of 2017.
  • The current exemptions for Lead as an alloying element in steel, Lead as an alloying element in aluminum, Lead as an alloying element in copper will remain in effect and will not expire until the EU Commission completes the current ongoing review of the applications.

Here’s the full statement from I-Connect007

“The EU Commission and Member States continue to meet to discuss the disposition of RoHS exemption renewal requests submitted by industry in January 2015.  During their December 15, 2016 meeting in Brussels, the experts reviewed requests on: Lead as an alloying element in steel (Annex III exemption 6a); Lead as an alloying element in aluminum (Annex III exemption 6b); Lead as an alloying element in copper (Annex III exemption 6c); Lead in high melting temperature type solders (Annex III exemption 7a); Lead in a glass or ceramic other than dielectric ceramic in capacitors (Annex III exemption 7c-I), jointly with exemption request 2015-1; Lead as activator in the fluorescent powder (Annex III exemption 18b), jointly with exemption request 2015-3; Lead in solders for the soldering to machined through hole discoidal and planar array ceramic multilayer capacitors (Annex III exemption 24); and Lead in cermet-based trimmer potentiometer elements (Annex III exemption 34).

“The Commission is currently working on preparing the draft legislative proposals for these and other exemptions) which will be sent to Member States for written consultation.  The drafts will likely be published in the spring; final legislative acts could be published in the Official Journal of the EU (OJEU) in the fall at the earliest. Under the EU RoHS2, all existing exemptions were set to expire by July 21, 2016. However, all exemptions for which industry submitted a renewal application will not expire until the EU Commission completes the current ongoing review of the applications.”

I-Connect007

(PS. Interesting footnote, I searched for an image of the European Union Commission and found the one above-on a blog about the EU Commissions delay to decide on a VISA issue– last April. Not an isolated case of Bureaucratic delay!)

Photo credit: Pulse Blog


RoHS Exemptions for Machining Industry- PMPA Members Know

January 12, 2017

The EU decision on the  RoHS 2011 recast appeals for exemptions for leaded materials for machining is almost a year late- the decisions were due  from the commission January 21, 2016.

January 21, 2016!

rohs-word-cloud

PMPA has reviewed the findings of the study group assigned to review and report on the appeals regarding Lead for machining purposes in Steels, Aluminum, and Copper alloys.

If you are a PMPA member, you can get our summary  providing the latest status of the RoHS exemptions that affect our shops. The EU is almost a year late with their decision on the exemption appeals for leaded materials for machining under the latest (2011) RoHS recast.

PMPA has posted a summary of the consultants’ findings  and their potential impacts on our machining companies for our members information on the PMPA website here.

We have really been challenged by the EU to stay up to date on these exemptions, being almost a year late with the decision certainly keeps the uncertainty high for manufacturers.

I wonder if the European Commission is as  lenient with the deadlines on the regulated communities as they are for their own?

If you are a PMPA member, you can get the latest Status of the RoHS exemptions that affect our shops here : January 2017 RoHS Exemption Summary Report

If you are not a PMPA member, where do you go to stay up to date on regulatory issues that affect your business?