Worth a Look: How Summer Impacts U.S. Infrastructure
August 29, 2012
Plus: Costs of the U.S.-China Trade Gap, Energy Firms Brace for Hurricane, What to Consider When Relocating, How Leaders Spend Their Mornings, DARPA’s Cyber Warfare Plan and Telecommuters Prove More Engaged.
Sometimes the Internet seems like it’s gotten too big. To help navigate this sea of information, Industry Market Trends' weekly Worth a Look feature spotlights some of the more interesting, informative and amusing resources that might have slipped under your radar — all in bite-sized chunks.
- U.S.-China Trade Deficit Costs Nearly 3 Million Jobs | A record-high $295 billion trade deficit with China has led to the loss of approximately 2.7 million jobs in the United States since 2001, including 2.1 million manufacturing jobs, according to a report from the non-partisan Economic Policy Institute. The report attributes the widening gap to low labor costs and efforts by Chinese authorities to keep their currency from appreciating. Among U.S. industries, the largest losses were in computer and electronic products manufacturing, which shed over 1 million jobs in the prior decade.
- Energy Firms Brace for Hurricane Isaac | Oil production in the Gulf of Mexico has come to a near-complete halt as coastal refineries and ports close for the arrival of Hurricane Isaac this week. As of late Monday, roughly 2 million barrels per day worth of refinery production were shut down, with 78 percent of Gulf Coast oil output and 45 percent of offshore gas output shuttered. These disruptions are already driving up energy costs and may lead the U.S. government to release some its strategic petroleum reserves.
- 5 Things to Consider Before You Relocate for Work | New research reveals that the majority of companies (72 percent) only give employees or job candidates two weeks to accept a relocation offer. Given the time pressure, it’s important to carefully evaluate some key points before making the decision to relocate, such as determining whether any pay raises will cover increased costs in living, if your family will be able to deal with the transition and whether selling your current home makes financial sense or might result in a loss.
- How Successful People Spend the First Hour of the Day | What you do in the morning can have a surprisingly powerful influence on how productive the rest of your day will be. Business leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs often start their days with unexpected rituals. Fast Company provides a roundup of how successful people spend their first hour, highlighting unusual tactics like ignoring email, tackling the most difficult task on the agenda right off the bat and personally responding to customer complaints.
- Inside DARPA’s Cyber War Strategy | The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has created some of the most cutting-edge innovations in U.S. military technology. Now, the agency is unveiling “Plan X,” the result of a five-year, $100 million project to develop a strategy for the effective deployment of cyberweapons. The initiative applies the principles of traditional warfare to the digital battlefield, unleashing powerful online programs and providing critical intelligence to evaluate cybersecurity across the globe.
- Remote Workers Are More Engaged | New research has found that employees who telecommute are often more committed to their work and more satisfied with their managers than their in-office counterparts. These surprising results may be driven by some common-sense factors, including the fact that proximity in the workplace may breed complacency, an employee’s physical absence may cause him to work harder to connect with the team and remote work can lead to better leveraging of communication tools.
- How Summer Affects Infrastructure | The intense heat and extreme weather that characterize summertime in many parts of the country also have a dramatic effect on U.S. infrastructure, particularly the energy industry. For example, 64 percent of the U.S. is experiencing a drought, causing nuclear power plants to scale back capacity from lack of water for their cooling systems. In addition, more people tend to drive in warm seasons, making the price of gas rise by 15 cents on average in the summer.