Economic activity in the manufacturing sector contracted in May for the first time since November 2012, and the overall economy grew for the 48th consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business®.
The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday set a price of $34.41 per share for the sale of 30 million shares of General Motors stock. Treasury said the sale will result in aggregate proceeds to the government of $1.03 billion. A United Autoworkers retiree health care trust fund was selling 20 million of its GM shares as well, bringing total sales to 50 million shares.
The U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs in May, a gain that shows employers are hiring at a still-modest but steady pace despite government spending cuts and higher taxes. The unemployment rate rose to 7.6 percent from 7.5 percent in April, the Labor Department said Friday.
General Motors CEO Dan Akerson says the company's finances are sound enough to consider paying a dividend or even buying more stock from the U.S. government. The CEO, in comments after GM's annual meeting Thursday, also said the company first has to keep investing in new vehicles and equipment.
A research study by the University of Tennessee at Knoxville shows Volkswagen's assembly plant in Chattanooga is responsible for more than $643 million in annual income. The study also estimates that the plant increases state and local tax revenue by $53.5 million annually.
Orders to U.S. factories rose modestly in April as manufacturers rebounded from a weak March performance. Factory orders rose 1 percent in April compared with March when orders had dropped a sharp 4.7 percent, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. The big swing reflected volatility in commercial aircraft orders, which were down sharply in March but surged 53.3 percent in April.
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Gabriel Gomez pressed for a cut in the corporate tax rate after a tour of textile-maker Polartec. The company has rebounded from a massive fire in 1995 that destroyed the plant, and two subsequent bankruptcies. It now faces new challenges brought on by the decline in defense-related business resulting from the winding down of foreign wars and the automatic federal budget cuts that went into effect in March.
Several economic figures for the 17 EU countries that use the euro all showed the same thing Wednesday — there's no sign of a recovery from recession. Eurostat, the European Union's statistics office, confirmed that the eurozone's economy as a whole shrank 0.2 percent in the first quarter of the year from the previous three-month period, with most sectors declining.
There has been a steady upward trend in average effective tax rates (ETR) of industrial products and automotive companies from 2010 (26.1 percent) to 2012 (28.3 percent), despite a reduction in statutory rates of corporate income tax around the world, according to the PwC US 2013 Assessing tax report, a tax rate benchmarking study covering 316 companies across the following industries.
The U.S. trade deficit widened in April, as demand for foreign cars, cell phones and other imported goods outpaced growth in U.S. exports. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that the trade gap rose 8.5 percent in April from March to $40.3 billion. Exports increased 1.2 percent to $187.4 billion, the second-highest level on record.
The strong sales are another sign that auto sales will continue to boost the U.S. economy, as consumers replace aging vehicles and businesses invest in trucks as they gain confidence. Builders are buying pickup trucks at a rapid pace as home construction continues to rebound.
A measure of U.S. manufacturing fell in May to its lowest level since June 2009 as slumping overseas economies and weak business spending reduced new orders and production. The Institute for Supply Management said Monday that its index of manufacturing activity fell to 49 last month from 50.7 in April.
China's manufacturing shrank slightly last month, a report said Monday, adding to signs of an uncertain recovery in the world's second-biggest economy. HSBC's monthly purchasing managers' index fell to 49.2 in May. That's down from 50.4 in April. Readings below 50 indicate a contraction.
Global unemployment will hit 200 million this year, and declarations of intent to tackle the problem will mean nothing without action, says International Labor Organization director general Guy Ryder. And within the next five years, he suspects global joblessness to reach 215 million.
The Chevrolet Malibu, an also-ran in the popular midsize car segment, shows off a quick makeover Friday that is expected to address criticism of its bland styling and so-so performance. General Motors will unveil the updates at a press event in Detroit. Experts are expecting to see a more modern-looking car, with some additional legroom in the back seat.
Unemployment across the 17 EU countries that use the euro hit another record high in April — and appears to be on course to hit 20 million this year in what would be another gloomy landmark for the currency bloc. Eurostat, the European Union's statistics office, said Friday that the unemployment rate rose to 12.2 percent in April from the previous record of 12.1 percent the month before.
Auto companies are hoping lower lease prices can put a charge into sluggish sales of electric cars. Honda announced Thursday that it's slashing the monthly lease cost of its tiny Fit EV by one third, following similar moves by other automakers. Honda also is throwing in other goodies, such as a free home charging station and unlimited mileage.
The recession in Europe risks hurting the world's economic recovery, a leading international body warned Wednesday. In its half-yearly update, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said that protracted economic weakness in Europe "could evolve into stagnation with negative implications for the global economy."
Unemployment rates fell in almost all large U.S. cities in April, helped by stronger hiring. The gains show the job market is improving throughout the country. The Labor Department said Wednesday that unemployment rates declined in 344 of the 372 largest metro areas. Rates rose in just 17 cities and were unchanged in 11.
China's economy, the third largest economy in the world, shows fresh signs of faltering, with an advance reading of manufacturing output shrinking for the first time in seven months. That may worry trading partners--but not its leaders.
Shares of electric car maker Tesla Motors Inc. spiked Tuesday on momentum from last week's stock-and-note offering that raised nearly $1 billion, general market increases, and the prospect of the company announcing a wider network of car charging stations.
Businesses in Paducah are bracing for uncertainty in the wake of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant's expected closure at the end of the month. The shutdown will put more than 1,100 workers out of high-paying jobs with benefits. Kele Sports Depot shop owner Stephen Kelly said the plant has a trickle-down effect economically and the loss of jobs will be felt.
Manufacturing growth in parts of the U.S. is moving at the same rate or better than emerging markets growth, while some parts of the country are still struggling and possibly clouding the picture of growth. Analyst Meredith Whitney says that the flood of cheap, natural gas will ultimately bring manufacturing jobs back to the U.S.
For farmers, business owners and government officials up and down the West Coast, Washington's bridge collapse on Interstate 5 represents much more than a close brush with tragedy. As much as $20 billion in freight travels to and from Canada and along the busy north-south corridor each year.
Tesla Motors is fighting a bill in North Carolina that would effectively ban the company from selling its electric cars in the state, pitting it against auto dealers who say the car maker has an unfair advantage selling directly to consumers online.