In another sign of economic weakness US employers sharply slowed hiring in March to the weakest pace in more than a year.
The US Department of Commerce last week released its Advance Report on Durable Goods Manufacturers’ Shipments, Inventories and Orders for February 2015:
- New Orders for manufactured durable goods in February decreased 1.4 percent. This decrease, down three of the last four months followed a 2.0 percent January increase.
- Shipments of manufactured durable goods in February, down four of the last five months, decreased 0.2 percent.
- Unfilled orders for manufactured durable goods in February, down three consecutive months, decreased 0.5 percent.
- Inventories of manufactured durable goods in February, up twenty two of the last twenty three months, increased 0.3 percent.
US Raw Steel Production
US raw steel production dropped 1.7 percent last week as mills operated at an ACUR of 67.7 percent. It was the lowest weekly level since January of 2010. In the corresponding week last year mills operated at an ACUR of 77.1 percent. Thus far this year, mills have operated at an ACUR of 72.9 percent, down from 77 percent in the same period last year.
An article released Friday titled “Steel said in worst times since late 90’s” describes the situation (I believe I railed on imports a couple weeks back):
The US steel industry is fighting to survive an import surge in market conditions similar to those in the late 1990’s that destroyed once-iconic steel makers, an ArcelorMittal SA executive said.”
A strong US dollar, over capacity in the global steel industry and low material costs have created the worst market for domestic steel producers since 1998. Record high imports caused prices and capacity utilization to drop in the late 1990’s, resulting in Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings by the former LTV Corp and Bethlehem Steel Corp. Today we are facing an eerily similar situation, noting that weak global demand, particularly in emerging markets like China, has seen excess tons produced abroad seeking a home in the United States.
Imports of both flat-rolled and long products have reached record levels and mean domestic steelmakers have not benefited from a recovering (still?) US economy. These market challenges have weakened prices to unsustainable levels, placing the domestic steel industry at serious risk. And Capitol Hill does not appear ready to ride to domestic mills’ rescue. We have no assurance of a more favorable government trade policy to help the domestic steel industry anytime soon.
~Andrew Harshaw, President and CEO of ArcelorMittal USA Flat Carbon
Well, don’t that beat all? The government, which legislates the laws and trade agreements which allow this dumping, will not take the steps necessary to stop it. One must wonder… why?
I have been involved in the steel industry since 1970. Excessive imports have been a continual issue when global markets deteriorate. The United States has become the world’s dumpster. Our trading partners continue to produce in the face of minimal demand in order to keep their people and businesses working. But what do they do with the steel which is not consumed in their own markets? You guessed it, throw it on a boat and ship it to the US at low prices, forcing OUR domestic steel industry to follow suit, lowering prices to remain competitive.
That works for a minute or two, now production has been reigned in, companies are laying off workers and yet imports continue to pile up on our docks …. and it all must be consumed… eventually. Again to the detriment of the domestic steel industry.
It appears that Bowe Bergdahl had made overtures to the Afghans and even tried to become a hit man for the Russians during his time in the service. All of this was known by the White House and yet they chose to characterize Bergdahl as a hero, serving “with honor and distinction”…. then proceeded to trade him for 5 Taliban fighters. I know that Americans do not leave anyone behind in a theater of battle and I believe the efforts to get Bergdahl back were honorable in that respect, but to know these facts then have a Rose Garden ceremony at the White House lauding this traitor after his release is just despicable, an insult to those who serve and have served honorably. I just don’t understand the president’s thinking. What idiots are advising him and why does he continue to listen?
Guilty as Charged
The useless piece of crap, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was found guilty of all 30 counts on which he was charged related to the Boston Marathon bombing. Good…now put a bomb at his feet and spark the fuse. Let him feel a little fear for a brief second prior to getting his nuts blown off. The 70 virgins won’t do him any good.
Or Else …
Now, Iran is demanding that all sanctions be lifted immediately or they will not agree to the nuclear deal. In my view, this entire charade is a joke. First of all, the United States should be dictating the terms, not bowing to the wishes of the scumbags in Tehran. I would NOT lift any sanctions until they agree to OUR terms and if they refuse, somehow seek to apply additional and more stringent sanctions. We are not playing little boys with toy guns here, these idiots want nuclear weapons and they will use them. Unfortunately, our president seems willing to allow it…in 10 years.
Thing is, they will not stop moving toward nuclear capability, they cannot be trusted to cease these activities. All of their nuclear infrastructure remains intact. This makes no sense whatsoever.
Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader on Friday declared the United States to be liars, backstabbers and untrustworthy. Additionally, he declares there will be no inspections of military facilities involved in nuclear work and that before any deal is made sanctions must be immediately lifted. This is getting worse and worse. We need to walk away from these so called negotiations, regroup, reinstall sanctions and bring these bastards to their knees. Iran must NOT get a nuclear weapon. Period. That we have given up so much of the economic pressure we had on them goes against all common sense.
Remember these tidbits as the election cycle grinds on:
- Fast & Furious-Americans killed by guns supplied to the drug cartels…by the Department of Justice-Eric Holder presiding. The president was clueless, no one held accountable.
- Benghazi: Four Americans killed in an assault described as the result of a viral video. This was proved to be a false narrative. This was in fact, a planned act of terror. The president was clueless. No one even knows where he was as this went down. No one held accountable
- “At this point, what difference does it make?” Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State
- The IRS targeting of conservative groups and individuals. No one held accountable, Lois Lerner is on paid vacation and has refused to testify. The president was clueless. No one held accountable.
- Hillary using a private server for correspondence during her term as Secretary of State against the orders of the president. She thought “it would be more convenient…” Though the records were due when she left office, they were not submitted, Subpoenas had to be issued, which she ignored for two years. Finally, she released 30,000 of some 60,000 alleged emails then she deleted the rest of the emails and will NOT turn the server over for investigation.
Enjoy the Master’s this weekend. The Indians’ home opener is tonight…Go Tribe! We LOVE Chief Wahoo! The Cavaliers play the Celtics this evening too. A great sports night in Cleveland….
Have a great weekend….
And God bless America!
Buy American made products whenever you can, it’s good for you, good for your friends and neighbors and good for our country.
If you are hiring…try to hire a veteran…. they are loyal, disciplined, hardworking…and they deserve our support.