‘Sustainable’ expansion on track, NAM says
With the Labor Department reporting that the economy created a much higher than expected 274,000 new non-farm payroll jobs in April while the unemployment rate held steady at 5.2%, National Association of Manufacturers Chief Economist David Huether observed that, “Many service sectors and construction led the way, and this suggests that a broad and sustainable economic expansion remains on track.
“Our economy has now created 2.2 million new jobs in the past 12 months, and 3.5 million since June 2003,” he said. “The frustrating news is that manufacturing, with its economy-leading productivity growth, actually lost 6,000 jobs.
“Manufacturing sectors shedding jobs are those still facing stiff import competition, particularly from Asia where currency manipulations keep many countries’ currencies low against the dollar. This is why the NAM considers it critical for the Administration to continue pressing various trading partners to remove their currency controls,” Huether noted.
“On a brighter note, high productivity throughout the non-farm economy is keeping inflation in check, and that bodes well for the long run. But policymakers can’t be complacent and stay on the sidelines,” warned Huether.
“Our manufacturing sector is being buffeted by extremely high energy costs as Congress continues to dither with partisan politics instead of passing a desperately needed energy bill. Investment and growth could also be bolstered by passage of asbestos and highway bills, and formulation of a 21st century telecommunications policy, too, to name just a few,” he concluded.