I had the pleasure of attending a political fundraiser Tuesday at the Union Club in downtown Cleveland. I was privileged to meet Senator Rob Portman, former Governor George Voinovich and my state Senator John Eklund, among others.

Consensus seems to be that the Republican party is broken and in need of repair in many areas. The fact that they recognize the party has problems is the first step to being able define and then to solve those problems. The crucial nature of the 2014 midterm elections is apparently lighting a fire under someone’s rear end. Let’s hope they do the right things to get our country back on track.
The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) issued their purchasing managers index for March which dropped to 51.3 from 54.2. Though the index dropped from the heady increase made in February, it is still reading above 50 which portends growth for the future and is the fourth consecutive month in which the manufacturing sector has expanded.

Last week the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI) reported its national activity index. Led by gains in production-related indicators, the index increased to +0.44 in February from -0.49 in January. The index’s three month moving average (CFNAI-MA3), decreased to +0.09 in February from +0.28 in January, marking its fourth consecutive reading above zero. February’s CFNAI-MA3 suggests that growth in national economic activity was somewhat above its historical trend. The economic growth reflected in this level of the CFNAI-MA3 suggests limited inflationary pressure from economic activity over the coming year.

On March 21, the Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the US rose 0.5 percent in February to 94.8 (2004 = 100) following a 0.5 percent increase in January and a 0.4 percent increase in December.

From the Metals Service Center Institute North American Manufacturing Advocacy News for the week of 4/1/13:

The US Commerce Department last week announced the nation’s economy expanded 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 (that is terrible! Dead in the water!), a reading that was better (??) than the 0.1 percent expansion estimated one month ago. According to the Wall Street Journal

Business spending, particularly on construction, was the primary driver behind the higher estimate of fourth quarter GDP….”

Statistics Canada announced last week that Canada’s economy expanded 0.2 percent in January, erasing the 0.2 percent decline that occurred in December. According to the Ottawa Citizen, “A surprisingly strong manufacturing sector was the major driving force….”
According to the US Census Bureau, orders for durable goods increased 5.7 percent between January and February.
The Conference Board announced last week that its Consumer Confidence Index fell from 68 in February to 59.7 in March. According to the Conference Board, a reading in the 90 range denotes a healthy economy. The board blamed “anxiety about $85 billion in across-the-board (growth in) government spending cuts that took effect March 1” for the decline. Lingering concern about Federal tax increases put in place earlier this year also continued to take their toll on American consumers’ outlooks.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas announced Monday that the state’s manufacturing sector expanded in March.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond announced last week that the manufacturing sector in the mid-Atlantic region expanded in March.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City announced that manufacturing activity in seven states in the Midwest contracted again in March.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago announced last week that its Midwest Manufacturing Index increased 0.1 percent in January.

The unemployment rate dropped to 7.6% in March, the lowest level in four years….. but only because more people stopped looking for work. The economy added only 88,000 jobs in March, the worst number in nine months.

North Korea: it is reported this morning that the North Koreans have moved a couple of long range missiles to its east coast. It has also, this week, threatened nuclear attacks on the United States and now the White House is backing off on its strong position against these threats as our government fears the rhetoric may further inflame the North Koreans. Where is Ronald Reagan when we need him? I recall when Qaddafi made some threats against the United States and the president bombed his headquarters sending him scurrying to hide under the nearest sand dune. We had no more problems from him, and of course he is now worm food. This young punk in North Korea is a nut case and also needs a wakeup call to send him scurrying back to the bottom of his rat hole.

All of the good our country does for the peoples of the world and this is the kind of crap we have to deal with on a daily basis. It’s just not right. We ain’t perfect but we ARE the best thing going on this planet of ours.
Have a great weekend!

God Bless America