US manufacturing is slowing amid worries on taxes, energy, regs

29 June 2012 20:19  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--US manufacturing has been slowing over the last few months, and producers are increasingly worried about taxes, energy costs and regulatory impediments, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) said on Friday.

The association said that its quarterly survey of member firms showed that “for the second quarter in a row, a majority of respondents identified the unfavourable business climate as their primary challenge”.

The NAM said that the percentage of business owners who see an unfavourable business climate ahead rose to 64% in the second quarter from the first quarter reading of 62.2%.

NAM chief economist Chad Moutray said that manufacturers are more concerned about rising energy and raw material costs, and they are less positive about sales growth, employment, investments and their companies’ general outlook.

“Manufacturing has been slowing over the past few months,” he said.

Moutray said the NAM survey results reflect data from the Federal Reserve Banks and the Institute for Supply Management, showing a slow-down in manufacturing.

“With so many indicators reflecting a weakening in the manufacturing sector, it has become very clear that manufacturers are growing more cautious as they continue to face significant headwinds,” Moutray said.

“Aggressive regulations, uncertainty in the tax code, high energy costs and global competitiveness are just a few of the issues that Washington needs to address to get manufacturing growing strongly again,” he said.

The NAM report of slowing manufacturing follows similar indicators, including a chemicals sector forecast of further sluggishness and another manufacturers’ group reporting a lower outlook for production and US GDP for the rest of this year.

In addition, a key measure of manufacturing activity fell in the first quarter this year for the seventh consecutive quarterly decline.

NAM is the largest and oldest US multi-industry trade association with some 14,000 member firms.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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