Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Talk Business & Politics provides “Made In America,” a round-up of state and global manufacturing news.
MANUFACTURING ALLIANCE SAYS STRONG CONSUMER DEMAND WILL DRIVE JOB GAINS THROUGH 2017: Strong consumer demand driven by job growth should lead to increased manufacturing production through 2017, according to a new forecast. The MAPI Foundation, the research affiliate of the Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation, released its quarterly economic forecast, predicting that inflation-adjusted gross domestic product will expand 2.9% in 2016 and 2.7% in 2017, both on par with the August 2015 report. GDP growth for 2018 is anticipated to be 2.5%. All estimates are above the anticipated 2.4% GDP growth for the U.S. economy in 2015.
During the next few years, manufacturing production is also expected to outpace the forecast of 1.8% growth in 2015. Output is anticipated to advance by 2.6% in 2016 (down from 3.4% in the August report) and 3.0% in 2017, a slight decrease from 3.1% in last quarter’s analysis. The foundation predicts 2.8% growth in 2018. To see the full report, click here.
U.S. CENSUS BUREAU: WIVES’ EARNINGS CATCHING UP TO HUSBANDS’ WAGES – Between 2000 and 2015, the share of married couples where the wife earned at least $30,000 more than the husband increased from 6% to 9%, according to recently released statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau. Married couples where the husband earned at least $30,000 more than the wife decreased from 38% to 35%. Conversely, husbands and wives whose earnings were within $4,999 of each other grew slightly from 24% in 2000 to 25% in 2015.
The statistics come from the Census Bureau’s annual Families and Living Arrangements table package from the 2015 Current Population Survey’s Annual Social and Economic Supplement, which has collected statistics on families and living arrangements for more than 60 years. The comparisons provide an overview of all married couples and do not account for employment status.
SOUTH ARKANSAS FIRM NAMED AMONG NATION’S TOP SPECIALTY CONTRACTING FIRMS: El Dorado contracting firm, The Systems Group, has been named one of the Top 600 Specialty Contractors nationwide in an annual ranking report released by Engineering News-Record (ENR). Now ranked #268 – 50 positions higher than last year at #318 – it is the highest-ranked Arkansas firm on the list and has been part of the ENR “Top 600” for four consecutive years. The Systems Group has contracting offices in El Dorado, Blytheville, Decatur, Ala., Crawfordsville, Ind., Ghent, Ky., Columbus, Miss., and Cofield, N.C.
U.S. WOOD PELLET EXPORT MARKET NO THREAT TO U.S. SOUTHERN FORESTS: The U.S. export of industrial wood pellets to meet renewable energy goals in the European Union is not a threat to the sustainability of U.S. Southern forests, according to a new report by independent forest analysts and economists using U.S. government and marketplace data. The report, commissioned by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO) and the U.S. Industrial Pellet Association (USIPA), is available here. The report reveals that industrial pellet exports represent a very small part of forest harvests in the U.S. South and will continue to do so into the future. Arkansas is expected to have two wood pellet plants come into production by the end of 2016.