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IndustryNet Blog

Posted by IndustryNet
The U.S., Canada and Mexico have been embroiled in NAFTA negotiations for more than a year now, culminating in a new deal that was finally struck between the three nations on October 1st. The new trilateral agreement promises increased wages, strengthened intellectual property, and expanded access to markets, while reducing the U.S. trade deficits. But what does it mean for the American manufacturer?

The new trade deal, officially termed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is the result of sixteen months of heated negotiations between the three nations and is geared to replace the 23-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in the year 2020.

NAFTA has been the subject of much controversy, lauded by some economists and reviled by others. Largely accepted by U.S. presidents since the Clinton era, the current administration brought NAFTA back to the spotlight over the past year, proclaiming it a job killer that has allowed significant trade deficits to build up. Or, in short, "The worst trade deal ever signed."
Posted by IndustryNet
Employment is growing in aluminum rolling and drawing as this industry sector serves the markets from food packaging to construction. Rolled products utilize almost 50 percent of aluminum alloys. The demand for aluminum wiring, a drawn product, has increased 20 percent during the last decade.

According to data compiled by IndustryNet, there are 57 aluminum drawing and rolling companies providing 7,035 jobs. Employment has increased by 0.36 percent over the past year. Current average sales stand at $6.77 billion, which is unchanged during the same period.

The majority of aluminum and drawing companies, 24 or 42 percent are located in the South. The Midwest has a similar number; 22 or 39 percent. The Northwest houses seven facilities or 12 percent, with the lowest number, four or 7 percent in the West.

Posted by IndustryNet
Epec Engineered Technologies, an industry leader in high reliability manufactured electronics, has recently announced a new version of their online circuit board quote and ordering tool, InstantPCBQuote.

The new InstantPCBQuote was released at the end of August and has been in beta for about a month. This new version has a more modern look and feel, supported by a more advanced back-end infrastructure. It is now also more compatible with recent web browser changes and various screen resolutions.

"Our IT and Marketing teams have been working on this for about a year now and we are excited that it has finally been released. The goal of this re-launch was to make the site more user friendly to ensure a great experience to our customers", shared Keith Araujo, Director of Marketing at Epec.
Posted by IndustryNet
U.S. manufacturing activity cooled slightly in September after surging to a fourteen-year high in August, according the Institute for Supply Management's latest survey of manufacturing executives.

U.S. manufacturing activity now stands at 59.8%, down 1.5% from August's reading of 61.3%.

September's ISM report generally reflects continued expansion in the nation's industrial sector, with any reading over 50% indicating expansion. Last month's reading represents the 31st consecutive month of growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector, and the 113th straight month of growth in the economy overall.

Fifteen of eighteen industries surveyed by the ISM reported growth, led by textile mills; miscellaneous manufacturing; plastics & rubber products; computer & electronic products; beverage & tobacco products; machinery; and apparel, leather & allied products.

The primary metals sector was the only to report contraction.
Posted by IndustryNet
America's aluminum extrusion industry is holding its own. IndustryNet determined that the industry's sales remained flat over the past year. This may be due to pricing competition from overseas manufacturers.

Lower prices are coming from the countries of Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia. These conditions have placed pressure on the U.S. industry's bottom line. Manufacturers must absorb these countries' lower pricing by reducing its operating margin.

The American aluminum extrusion industry's market share continues to grow. For example, 2016 was the seventh year in a row that extrusion shipments have grown. This represents a 35% increase in shipments since 2009.

The top five largest aluminum extrusion companies cover a wide geographical category of the U.S. The largest company is in Pennsylvania with a sister company in Oregon. Add to these companies Texas with two up North in Wisconsin and Michigan and you have the lower 48 states covered.

Posted by IndustryNet
Aluminum extrusion offers an extensive array of design possibilities to industries as diverse as automotive, construction and power generation. Aluminum's weight, superior thermal conductivity and strength lend an advantage to many types of consumer products.

Manufacturers also choose aluminum extrusion because of its relatively low-cost tooling, which speeds the development and prototyping of new products.

Aluminum extrusions are 100 percent recyclable. Since these products do not emit significant levels of hazardous gases during processing, manufacturers employ them to simplify their regulatory compliance.

Aluminum extrusions are also corrosion resistant, making them highly desirable for use outdoors and in environmentally harsh conditions.
Posted by IndustryNet
Furthering its mission to address unfair Chinese industrial policies, the USTR announced late Monday that it has finalized tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports to the U.S. and has threatened tariffs on an additional $267 billion of Chinese goods in the event China's Ministry of Commerce retaliates with its own set of duties. The finalized list represents roughly 50% of all Chinese goods imported to the U.S.

According to the USTR's recent announcement, an initial 10% import tariff will now be officially imposed on the list of 5,745 Chinese products starting September 24th, with the tariffs raised to 25% starting January 1st, 2019.

The proposed tariffs were announced on July 10th, 2018, and originally included a list of 6,031 products. That list has since been revised, with 297 products removed based on responses received during a 6-week review and 6-day public hearing. The full range of items removed from the final list can be found here.

Not surprisingly, China responded today with an announcement of its intent to retaliate with its own list of import tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods at rates between 5-10%

The Trump administration continues to take a hard line with China. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement released July 10th: "As a result of China's retaliation and failure to change its practices, the President has ordered USTR to begin the process of imposing tariffs of 10 percent on an additional $200 billion of Chinese imports. This is an appropriate response under the authority of Section 301 to obtain the elimination of China's harmful industrial policies."

Posted by IndustryNet
Since 1855, aluminum companies have operated in the United States. As the country's economy has grown, the aluminum industry has grown with it. According to data compiled by IndustryNet, 940 aluminum companies provide 65,066 jobs. Average sales are $47.8 billion.

While the automotive and construction are a significant segment of the aluminum market, aluminum companies also serve the packaging, food service, agricultural and many other markets. The 10 oldest aluminum companies, listed here in reverse order of establishment, illustrate how the industry has grown and diversified in the over 160 years it has operated in the U.S.

Posted by IndustryNet
Casting performed by aluminum foundries is the most widely used process for manufacturing aluminum products and is vital to the aluminum industry. In these facilities, aluminum is melted and poured into molds. The items formed are as diverse as power transmissions for cars and the cap on the Washington Monument.

The majority of molds, especially those for large objects, are constructed from sand. Other casting methods are investment casting, which involves the use of meltable linings such as wax with a ceramic mold and die casting in metal molds. Regardless of the casting procedure, goods produced by foundries are both lightweight and sturdy.

According to data collected by IndustryNet, 349 plants in the aluminum foundry sector provide 18,774 jobs. This number is a decrease of 0.95 percent from the employment numbers for the previous year. Current average sales of $2.91 billion show a drop of 0.14 percent when compared to a year ago.

The following are the nation's top aluminum foundries operating in the U.S. today.
Posted by IndustryNet
While tariffs have recently been instituted to stimulate the growth of the U.S. aluminum industry, some aluminum foundries are already thriving. Much of the struggle of aluminum manufacturers has been attributed to Chinese metal overcapacity.

Despite an increasing amount of U.S. demand that has been met by foreign suppliers, some market segments, automotive in particular, have spurred domestic sales. This trend is expected to continue, owing to duties that have been imposed on a variety of aluminum products including hubs for bicycles, tanks, vats, reservoirs and, most notably, some engine components.

With rapid urbanization driving increased demand for lightweight vehicles, sales of foundry casting products are projected to rise over the next few years. Die casting is an essential process in the production of components necessary for the improvement of fuel efficiency.

Productivity in the die casting industry is surging due to automation. In addition to automotive applications, the use of these products has been rising in piping and machinery. Innovations in producing complex geometries, crafting fine details and lowering costs have created additional markets for die cast products.
Posted by IndustryNet
U.S. manufacturing activity surged to its highest rate in fourteen years in August, fueled by significant growth in new orders, production and employment. This was reported by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM), which today released its Manufacturing Report on Business

U.S. manufacturing activity now stands at 61.3%, up 3.2% from July's 58.1 reading, according to the ISM's latest survey of manufacturing executives.

August's reading of 61.3% represents the nation's 30th straight month of growth in the manufacturing sector, and the 112th consecutive month of growth in the economy overall.

Sixteen of eighteen industries surveyed by the ISM reported growth, led by computer & electronic products; apparel, leather & allied products; textile mills; paper products; and miscellaneous manufacturing.

The wood products and primary metals sector were the only to report contraction, according to the ISM.
Posted by IndustryNet
The recent implementation of a 10-percent tariff on aluminum highlights the metal's importance to industry and particularly the significance of the sector whose products are most extensively employed: sheet aluminum.

While aluminum might most readily bring to mind the metallic sheen of foil, sheet aluminum can be anodized and dyed to produce hundreds of colors including red, gold and black. Etching of sheet aluminum will yield a matte finish. Polishing can create a mirror bright surface.

Products in this sector are used in the manufacture of cans and other packaging. Sheet aluminum is essential in the fabrication of airplane skins. Panels for both automobiles and tractor trailers are manufactured from sheet.

Using aluminum to produce lighter-weight cars reduces annual emissions of carbon dioxide by 44 million tons. Sheet aluminum can be continuously recycled, saving more than 90 percent of the energy used to produce the primary product.
Posted by IndustryNet
Aluminum brings to mind foil to wrap leftovers and soda cans. The truth is, aluminum's impact on the U.S. economy reaches far further than these two iconic products. Aluminum enables strong, light-weight and eco-friendly cars. Manufacturers use them to create bulletproof shielding on Bradley tanks. Aluminum is in kettles, toasters and other kitchen utensils.

In construction, aluminum encases windows and strengthens bridges, railings and rods. Aircraft, boats and trains rely on aluminum. Its conductivity and weight make it ideal for power lines.

Aluminum even has a robust afterlife in recycling, with nearly 75 percent of all aluminum ever produced still in use today.

Given its versatility, it is no wonder that aluminum generates nearly $71 billion each year in direct U.S. economic impact and close to $174 billion in indirect economic impact, taking into account all of the ancillary businesses that thrive as a result of its manufacture.

IndustryNet catalogued 940 aluminum companies in the U.S., employing 65,447 individuals and generating sales in excess of $48 billion annually.
Posted by IndustryNet
According to new data released by MNI, compiler and publisher of the U.S. industrial data that powers IndustryNet, Georgia added manufacturing jobs for an eighth straight year, helped by continued gains in the auto industry.

Georgia's industrial sector has thrived in the post-recession era, adding a total of 32,000 jobs since May of 2010. During this period, the state's transportation equipment sector grew by 36%, rising to become the state's third-largest sector by number of industrial jobs.

Numerous manufacturers have flocked to Georgia over the past eight years, drawn by a number of site selection factors. This article will take a look at some of the major developments that have occurred in Georgia since the recession, including new company announcements. We'll examine the state's outlook in light of new federal and state policies and explore IndustryNet's extensive regional and historical data for the state.
Posted by IndustryNet
Kenmode Precision Metal Stamping has earned three new international certifications for quality and environmental standards. The certifications include two new standards from the International Organization for Standardization -- the ISO 9001:2015 standard for quality management systems and the ISO 14001:2015 standard for environmental management systems -- and IATF 16949:2016 for automotive quality systems.

Kenmode has held certifications of earlier versions of the ISO 9001 and automotive quality standards but has been certified for the environmental management standard for the first time. Kenmode is among the early adopters of the new global automotive industry standard, IATF 16949:2016, which was recently introduced by the International Automotive Task Force and replaces the ISO/TS 16949 standard.

Posted by IndustryNet
Global tariffs on aluminum will affect U.S. production and jobs across a multitude of industries. The United States Trade Representative has released a massive list of tariffs. In addition to raw materials, thousands of products are affected.

They include equipment such as metal tool rollers, which are vital to the aluminum drawing and rolling sector. As aluminum prices rise, manufacturers may be struggling to find new domestic suppliers.

The state of the U.S. aluminum industry

IndustryNet has gathered data from 940 companies in the U.S. aluminum industry. The statistics cover the primary production of aluminum; aluminum die castings, aluminum foundries, sheet aluminum, aluminum extrusions and aluminum rolling and drawing.

These businesses report providing 65,066 jobs in the past year, a slight decline of 0.58 percent from 65,447 workers employed one year ago. Average sales increased over the same period 0.23 percent from $47.7 billion to $47.8 billion.

The most substantial number of aluminum companies is in the Midwest where there are 421, representing 45 percent of the total. The South is served by 247 firms or 26 percent. The West is home to 144 or 15 percent of businesses in the aluminum sector.

The Northwest is supplied by 128 firms or 14 percent of the aluminum industry companies. With growing transportation costs, location is of increasing logistical importance as companies reimagine their supply chains.
Posted by IndustryNet
IndustryNet recently reported manufacturing job growth in Texas accelerated over the year, led by a recovering oil/gas sector.

The state added 21,513 jobs, or 1.8%, according to MNI, publisher of the industrial data that powers IndustryNet.

Overall, Texas manufacturing employment has grown consistently in the post-recession era, with much of the growth led by the a booming oil sector.

The chart below illustrates the ups and downs of Texas manufacturing employment over the past ten years.

The next chart illustrates growth in Texas' oil/gas extraction sector, which generally follows the same growth pattern as the entire state, with a slight dip between 2014 and 2016, when a supply glut drove oil prices down.

But although oil/gas sector employment is a significant factor in the state's post-recession gains, taken alone, the industry makes up a growing, but still fairly small (11%) share of the state's industrial employment.
Posted by IndustryNet
The next time you hop into your vehicle, know that your car contains around 2,400 pounds of steel. If you drive a truck, your vehicle has closer to 3,000 pounds of steel. Even if you don't own a car, you probably used a refrigerator, stood in a building or picked up a hand tool. All of the items have one thing in common - they utilize flat rolled steel.

Flat rolled steel is an alloy, a fact that makes it strong and durable. It is the perfect choice for infrastructure, buildings, pipes, heavy equipment and dozens of other uses. Sixteen companies dominate the flat rolled steel market, with a total of 4,636 employees. The average flat rolled steel sales top $11 billion dollars.

The following nine companies are at the top of the industry in terms of the number of employees:

United States Steel Corporation

The United States Steel Corporation, Granite City Works in Granite City, Illinois employs 800 individuals to produce sheet and tubular products for the automotive and other industries. Founded in 1901, United States Steel still adheres its founder's principle that the company's interests are subservient to the public welfare.

Posted by IndustryNet
The history of the steel industry in the United States spans nearly 200 years. Production surged in the 1950s, the era of the post-World War II boom and the growing American love affair with metal-heavy cars. Vast amounts of iron ore and coke were used in massive steel mills that provided the lifeblood to surrounding cities and towns. Although the U.S. became a major importer of steel, mostly from Japan, in the 1960s, domestic production of iron and steel peaked in 1973.

In the intervening time, many large steel mills have closed or merged. In recent years, much of the U.S. steel industry has shifted to specialty and minimills. Iron and scrap steel has replaced ore as a feedstock, supporting the recycling sector.

According to 2018 data gathered by IndustryNet, employment in the steel industry increased by nearly 2 percent over the last year. Average sales for the industry are $21.7 billion. The largest number of companies are in the Midwest and the South.

As the steel industry continues to evolve, some businesses have long witnessed its development. Some steel companies born in the 1800s still serve today's markets.

These are the 10 oldest steel companies in the U.S., from youngest to oldest:

10: Thistle Foundry & Machine Company was established in 1898. It is located in Bluefield, Virginia, a town along the Bluestone River, and known as Virginia's tallest town. This small company is privately held. Thistle employs a staff of 13 and makes steel castings.

9: ArcelorMittal USA Inc. in Chicago, Illinois, has been around since 1893. The company makes flat-rolled steel. Founded as Acme Flexible Clasp Company, the business has survived through many incarnations.

After merging with a hardware manufacturer, it became Acme Steel Goods in 1907, then Acme Steel in 1925. During the depression, it offered much-needed jobs to approximately 1,400 residents of t
Posted by IndustryNet
In the face of tariffs, United States manufacturers are confronting higher prices for the steel they need. While U.S. steel companies have experienced a welcome surge in revenue, their customers are experiencing unwelcome challenges. In the lag time that occurs between the rise in overhead and any compensation that accompanies an increase in selling prices, the ink on bottom lines in many industry segments may turn red.

IndustryNet data gathered from 400,000 manufacturers found that 43,000 of them rely on imports for production of their goods. At one "mom and pop" company that fabricates steel used in the construction of high-rises, materials costs have increased nearly 50 percent. Large firms are also feeling the pinch: General Motors Corp. has projected lower profits due to a jump in commodity prices.

In addition to causing increased pricing for raw materials such as alloy steel powders and stainless steel scrap, the thousands of tariffs announced against Chinese products are affecting the steel fabrication industry are also making the importation of tools and machinery costlier. The extensive list of equipment affected includes interchangeable cutting tools, air compressors, vacuum pumps, weighing machinery, metal-rolling tube mills and water-jet cutting machines.

Softening the blow

With prices for imported steel rising, many manufacturers will turn to domestic suppliers. In addition to reducing expenses, utilizing U.S. sources averts difficulties within the supply chain by allowing businesses to maintain greater control over the procurement process. Quality issues are minimized when a company can send their own teams to examine a supplier's operations.

Local sourcing also simplifies logistics. Issues such as port strikes and global politics cannot impact delivery schedules. The effect of inclement weather is often reduced. Overall costs of transpo
Posted by IndustryNet
U.S. manufacturing activity expanded at a slower rate in July, according the Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) latest survey of manufacturing executives, while additional economic reports out this week point to more muted manufacturing growth.

This follows the Commerce Department's robust reading on U.S. GDP, which found the U.S. economy expanded at a 4.1% rate in the second quarter -- its best reading since 2004.

A surge in industrial output also added to this month's positive economic reports, with the Federal Reserve reporting a 1.9% increase in manufacturing output over the past year, while durable goods manufacturing rose 3.2% over the same time frame.

Tariffs stirring uncertainty

However, tariff action between China and the United States continue to volley back and forth, stirring uncertainty among the nation's manufacturers and spiking raw material prices.

Just last week, the United State Trade Representative announced it was increasing the rate of tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods from 10% to 25%.

China struck back today with its own 25% tariff on 5,207 U.S. products worth $60 billion, ranging from machinery, wood products, semiconductors and a range of agricultural and chemical products, including liquified natural gas.

The trade showdown between the world's largest trading partners was a common theme among many of the responses to the ISM's survey. One executive in the wood products sector stated �The so-called trade war is taking its toll on business activity, resulting in reductions to new export orders. China has all but stopped taking orders, causing inventories to build up in the U.S. Domestic business is steady. However, it is too small to carry the load that export markets have retreated from."

Manufacturing still on the upswing

According to the ISM, the gauge of U.S. manufacturing activity now stands at 58.
Posted by IndustryNet
The U.S. steel industry is on the rise, posting a 1.91% gain in employment in 2018 and a more modest 0.8% rise in sales, according to recent data collected by IndustryNet. As a whole, the steel industry has current average sales of $21.7 billion. The steel industry has experienced dramatic changes in recent years, including the common trend of replacing blast furnaces with electric arc furnaces. Steel companies are also increasingly using robots to operate EAFs.

Number of companies and jobs in the reinforcing steel sector

One small sector of the steel industry, reinforcing steel, provides steel that gives tensile strength to concrete structure. The sector contains 32 companies that provide 1,281 jobs, which is 11.6 percent of companies and 4.1 percent of jobs in the industry. There was no change to the number of jobs in the sector within the last year.

Average sales in the reinforcing steel sector

The average current sales in steel reinforcing are $185.25 million, which is approximately the same figure as a year ago. Based on the previously mentioned current average sales in steel of $21.7 billion, this means that steel reinforcing accounts for less than 1 percent of the industry's sales.

Top companies in reinforcing steel by number of employees

Examining the top companies in steel reinforcing can also offer perspective into the sector, including geographical trends. One of the best ways to compare the various companies is via employees on site:
Posted by IndustryNet
The Commerce Department reported this morning that real gross domestic product (GDP) surged to an annual rate of 4.1% in the second quarter of this year -- a rate not seen since 2014.

U.S. GDP grew at double the 2.2% rate reported in the first quarter of 2018, bolstered by a surge in exports and defense spending.

The spike in GDP follows June's one percent gain in U.S. durable goods orders as reported by the Commerce Department on July 26th. Additionally, the Federal Reserve recently reported an uptick in industrial output.

By the numbers

The BEA's new GDP figure is based partially on a spike in exports, as U.S. producers scramble to get their products to market as trade tensions increase. Exports surged 9.3% in the second quarter -- a rate not seen since the fourth quarter of 2013.
Posted by IndustryNet
Galvanized steel is a growing sector of the steel industry. Hundreds of thousands of tons are produced annually worldwide, primarily for construction and automotive use. Appliances also present a sizable market.

Galvanization is the process of applying a protective coating of zinc, which retards corrosion. In some environments, galvanized steel will defy rust for decades. Additional treatment with chromate will further extend its useful life span.

Industry trends

Galvanized steel finds use in many innovative and creative ways. It recently played a significant role in the transformation of a disused shed into an award-winning low-cost energy efficient house, library and gallery. It was also used to construct a home with a design based on the semi-circular structure of a Quonset hut.

Recently, industry leader Steel Dynamics announced plans to add a new galvanizing line at its plant in Columbus, Mississippi. When it is completed, the company will have nine galvanizing lines with an approximate capacity of 3.8 million tons throughout its facilities in the eastern United States.
Posted by IndustryNet
According to new data collected by IndustryNet, manufacturing employment in Texas surged over the past year, boosted by a recovering oil/gas sector. IndustryNet reports the state added 21,513 jobs, amounting to a 1.8% gain.

This article will take a closer look at the major developments that have occurred in Texas since the recession and examine the state's outlook in light of new federal and state policies. We'll explore IndustryNet's extensive regional and historical data for the state, and delve into some of the specific site selection factors that continue to make Texas a great place for manufacturing.

Texas manufacturing: the year in review

Texas manufacturers added more than 20,000 jobs between May 2017 and May 2018 or 1.8%.

Gains were led by the state's oil/gas sector, which grew 2.3% after sputtering in recent years, while the petroleum products sector grew 8.3%. MNI reports this is the first time the oil/gas extraction sector has added jobs in three years, as sinking oil prices gutted the industry. With oil prices at a three-year high, however, the industry appears to be climbing back.

Additional gains were reported in transportation equipment; furniture/fixtures; instruments/related products; electronics; and food processing.

Posted by IndustryNet
Performing the vital task of preparing, melting and casting steel into shapes, foundries, steel mills and steel casting companies form an essential part of the steel industry. Steel mills manufacture raw steel, and may further process it into semi-finished products to be melted for casting. The recent imposition of tariffs on goods imported from China will have both positive and negative effects on this segment of manufacturing.

Both the raw materials utilized and tools needed for the fabrication process are included in the massive list of affected goods. Items subject to tariffs include both scrap and pig iron, which are feedstocks for many foundries and mills. Prices will rise on metal forging machinery, spare parts and molds. These additional costs are likely to increase foundry, steel mill and casting company operating expenses.

China also produces both steel and castings, which will be subject to tariffs as well. American companies may have an increased opportunity to compete. Notable examples of products involved are rail parts and truck assemblies. Foundries and casting companies producing these types of components may see a rise in both employment and sales.

Sector statistics

IndustryNet gathered data on 119 foundries, steel mills and casting companies that provide a combined 14,408 jobs. The job figure shows a decrease of 1 percent from the 14,563 reported a year ago. Average sales are $3.34 billion, a fall of nearly one percent from $3.36 billion, the sales from the previous year.

Posted by IndustryNet
U.S. industrial output rebounded in June, led by an uptick in auto production, according to a new report released this morning by the Federal Reserve.

The Federal Reserve's release on U.S. industrial production and capacity utilization showed factory output rose 0.6 percent in June, after cooling 0.5% in May. Overall, the Fed's index has surged 6% in the second quarter, continuing the positive trend recorded over the previous two quarters.

Manufacturing output outpaced overall gains, rising 0.8% in June. The Fed's manufacturing index declined in May after a fire at a major auto parts supplier in Michigan disrupted vehicle production across the sector.

Mining output saw a boost of 1.2% in June, with that index hitting a 5-year high, and utilities declined 1.5%. Capacity utilization edged up 0.3% to 78%.

Manufacturing output gains by industry

Overall, overall manufacturing output has climbed 1.9% over the past year, and durable goods manufacturing has surged 3.2%. Those industries posting the strongest year-over-year gains included computer & electronic products (+6.4); non-metallic mineral products (+6%); fabricated metals products (+5.7%) and wood products (+5%).

Posted by IndustryNet
Epec Engineered Technologies has announced that it will be partnering up with the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) by hosting a fundraising campaign for the month of July. Epec will donate 5% of July's sales from their online printed circuit board marketplace to WWP.

CEO Ed McMahon says "I have the utmost respect for those that have served in the military and I have personally been a supporter of Wounded Warrior Project for many years but wanted to do something bigger. Something to get the whole team involved and to bring awareness and support to such an important foundation and the wounded warriors who are often forgotten."

Epec has built a fundraising page and has also begun an in-house donation drive with employees and customers alike joining together to raise money and meet the $6,600 goal set to celebrate Epec's 66 years in business. Epec also employs several veterans and a WWP Alumnus and will showcase their biographies as well as the fundraiser progress on their Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

Posted by IndustryNet
The USTR has announced a massive new round of import tariffs on more than 6,000 Chinese products worth $200 billion in criticism of China's inaction on its current industrial practices. Both sets of tariffs target products fundamental to China's "Made in China 2025" industrial policy.

This follows a previous set of import tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods the U.S. enacted just last month, which prompted China's Ministry of Commerce to strike back with its own set of tariffs on $34 billion of U.S. goods. These consist mostly of agricultural products, but also includes items such as oil & gas drilling pipes and scrap aluminum.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement released July 10th: "As a result of China's retaliation and failure to change its practices, the President has ordered USTR to begin the process of imposing tariffs of 10 percent on an additional $200 billion of Chinese imports. This is an appropriate response under the authority of Section 301 to obtain the elimination of China's harmful industrial policies."


Trade tensions between the U.S. and China have been accelerating for nearly a year after the administration gave the USTR the green light to investigate Chinese industrial policy under Section 301 of the U.S. Trade Act of 1974. The agency's eight-month investigation, which took place between August of 2017 and April 2018, concluded that China's trade policies are "unreasonable or discriminatory and burden or restrict U.S. commerce." Tariff measures were taken shortly thereafter, with announcements made in June and July of this year.

Challenges for manufacturers

Posted by IndustryNet
Cold-rolled steel comprises a significant sector of the steel industry. In data gathered by IndustryNet, on 275 steel companies, 32 (11.64 percent) produce cold-rolled steel. Of the 31,610 jobs provided by steel companies, 4.541 (14.36 percent) are with manufacturers of cold-rolled steel.

Jobs in cold-rolled steel have taken a slight dip of 0.68 percent over the last year. Average sales were $4.5 billion. Financial markets are reflecting optimism that these numbers will rise.

Hot-rolled steel is roll pressed at temperatures over 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit. It is further processed into cold-rolled steel by undergoing additional compression between rollers. This extra step forms a product that has the following desirable characteristics:

- Smooth surfaces with closer tolerances.

- A higher definition in edges and corners of bars.

- Enhanced concentric uniformity and straightness when made into tubes.

Cold-rolled steel finds many uses in the construction industry. It is also a component of such diverse products as metal furniture, motorcycle exhaust pipes, lawn mowers, water heaters and frying pans.
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