Original Press Release
NAM Economist Says Dim Manufacturing Report Underscores Need For Energy Policy
Press release date: May 15, 2008
Huether Says Government Should Focus on Energy, Exports
WASHINGTON, D.C., May 15, 2008 - "The April decline in manufacturing production should serve as a wake up call to lawmakers on the need to develop a comprehensive national energy policy that increases domestic exploration, development and more efficiency and conservation," said David Huether, chief economist of the National Association of Manufacturers. "By constraining domestic energy exploration, current policies have made our country unable to meet the energy needs of a growing economy."
The Federal Reserve reported today that industrial production declined in April for the second time in the past three months. Half of the decline in manufacturing output was due to an 8.2 percent plunge in motor vehicle and parts production, which was the biggest single monthly decline in nearly a decade. "The high price of gasoline is clearly curbing both consumer and business demand for motor vehicles," Huether said.
Huether said also that rising exports were the one bright spot in the overall economic picture, but that Congress's failure to act on the U.S.-Colombia Free Trade Agreement was bringing the U.S. commitment to trade in question. "We need every good free trade agreement we can negotiate, and the Colombia agreement would bring us significant benefits."
Production in manufacturing sectors closely aligned with housing (wood products, furniture, nonmetallic minerals, and textile products) continued to decline in April, signaling that the housing recession is continuing into the second quarter."In addition, the fact that both machinery and fabricated metals both declined in April for the second time the past three months is an early indication that the slowdown in business investment that took place in the first quarter of the year is also continuing as well.
"Based on today's report, it is likely the economy will contract in the second quarter," Huether said.
The National Association of Manufacturers is the nation's largest industrial trade association, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the NAM has 11 additional offices across the country. Visit the NAM's award-winning web site at www.nam.org for more information about manufacturing and the economy.
CONTACT: HANK COX (202) 637-3090 DAVID HUETHER (202) 637-3148