Tag Archive for United States

Manufacturing Activity Still Contracting in Europe

The Economic Times reports today that European manufacturing activity as measured by new orders fell for the eleventh consecutive time in April 2012. What’s more, Euro zone manufacturing workers lost ground at the fastest rate in over two years.

In an article entitled “Euro zone downturn taking root among core members France and Germany,” The Economics Times says a recent survey indicates that “a downturn that started in the periphery appears to be taking root among core members France and Germany.” Germany and France now have experienced a manufacturing contraction two months in a row. 

Germany and France are obviously exasperating the significant drop in the Euro zone’s Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which registered a significant drop – nearly 3.8% -from a level of 47.7 in March 2012, to 45.9 in April 2012. Readers will note that a PMI level of 50 or above indicates economic expansion, while a level below 50 indicates the opposite. (Thankfully, the United States manufacturing sector is doing much better than Europe’s – with the US manufacturing base expanding for the 33rd month in a row and registering a relatively robust level of 54.8% in April 2012.) Read more

The “Next Big Thing.”

Business week reports today that General Electric (GE) is stepping into big data in a big way.

An article entitled “GE’s billion-dollar bet on big data” describes how the conglomerate is pumping big money into big data. The investment is remarkable in another way – the $1 billion facility will be built in Silicon Valley, a departure for GE which has its research roots in the northeast United States.

Big hopes are being pinned on big data, which is described in the article as “the fast-growing market for information technology systems that can sift through massive amounts of data to help companies make better decisions. Just as information on millions of Facebook users is prized by advertisers, the details companies amass from their operations can be used to cut costs and boost profits.” Many industry insiders see big data as the next big thing in technology innovation. Read more

Demographics as Destiny?

An article in The Atlantic entitled “Gray Nation: The Very Real Economic Dangers of an Aging America,” paints a stark view of America’s future – one in which the economy will experience slower growth, downturns that are more severe, and recoveries anemic at best. The surprising culprit is a seismic demographic shift in the United States that will result in a smaller pool of workers – and not enough to stoke the fire of a once roaring economic behemoth.

That’s what economists James Stock and Mark Watson (Harvard and Princeton, respectively) conclude. In their research paper, “Disentangling the Channels of the 2007-2009 Recession,” the authors find that demographic factors – the double-whammy of an aging population and a “plateau” in the number of women participating in the job market – will have dire consequences on (near) future economic growth. Read more

A Tri-state Water Dispute

This post is a follow up to a January 12, 2012, Spend Navigator piece entitled “Water shortages grow as a supply chain risk.” Here is a link to that post: http://spendnavigator.com/?p=859

Bloomberg reports today that a water conflict in the southeast United States portends a difficult future for control over this critical yet finite resource.

In “Atlanta’s water war is first in a gathering flood,” Bloomberg describes something akin to a water war between the states.  Florida and Alabama have joined forces against Atlanta, Georgia, over the diverting of water from Lake Lanier to Atlanta. The sticking point appears to be that Florida and Alabama resent the fact that Atlanta, “the largest city in the U.S. that is not near a major body of water,” did not help finance the dam which formed Lake Lanier (which is in Georgia) in the 1950s. Read more