Archive for May, 2011
US Imposes Duties On Imported Chinese Aluminum Extrusions, Raising Questions

With the applied duties on aluminum extrusions imported to the US from China, US extruders can & should capitalize on the movement of extrusion production. This past week, antidumping and countervailing duties imposed by the US International Trade Commission on imported Chinese aluminum extrusions took effect. These duties total at least 40% tacked on to the costs of all aluminum extrusions imported to the US from China, and will remain in effect for 5 years – until May, 2016. Outside of the trade press, this hasn’t made much more than a ripple – particularly in the mainstream media. You’d think this event would’ve been the Bin Laden story that US manufacturing has been waiting for for 10 years. Oh, it was covered alright … but we just haven’t heard this story trumpeted with the same volume and vigor that tire tariffs got. This is a big deal, for many reasons. And it raises some interesting points beyond the obvious benefits to US manufacturing. Continue Reading

Don’t Blame The Schools For Closing Machining & Manufacturing Programs

A young girl shows a passion for sculpting, so her parents arrange for her to attend art classes. A young boy attends a poetry reading, and begins a life-long devotion to literature via a classical education. Another young girl discovers the beauty, precision and practical wisdom of mathematics, and she is drawn to refine her talents in physics, astronomy or related curricula.

These young people have options. There are paths. They’re fortunate. There are support systems and programs where they can be polished, mentored and taught through to specialized, rewarding careers.

But if you’re predisposed to manufacturing or entrepreneurship, God help you. Because for the most part, you’re on your own.

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Is US Manufacturing Really Getting Better? And If It Is, Is It Enough?

I wrote this post 3 weeks prior to some pretty sobering events from the past few days – an abysmal jobs report, the continuing housing malaise, a serious drop in the ISM, and a strong potential for a QE3. I’m not Chicken Little, and I remain optimistic. But we have serious injuries to our economy & manufacturing base, and we’re treating them with band aids and duct tape. Like I was sayin’, we’re not out of the woods yet. – AJ (02 JUN ’11)

For the past year or so, we’ve been hearing how manufacturing in the US is the one shining economic light leading the economic ‘recovery.’ I want to believe that. And I can see everywhere – via all manner of tweetage, articles and blog posts – that you want to believe it, too. Continue Reading

Soaring Costs, Inflation Threaten Manufacturing Recovery

This video from the BBC features Linda Tool, a custom discrete parts manufacturer in Brooklyn, New York, and it sums up feelings that I’ve been hearing from small & midsized manufacturers around the US since the first of the year – rising costs are stifling recovery and growth.

Highlights from the video include:

  • Business is up since the end of 2010, and Linda Tool has added staff
  • Cost cutting is prevalent, ┬ábut the rising costs of materials and energy are difficult to keep up with and could stall the recovery
  • Many of the rising costs can’t be passed on to customers

Continue Reading