A monthly round-up of the MAPI resources available to NFPA members through NFPA's membership in MAPI.
Issues in Brief
Finally, Progress on Patent Reform
On March 8, 2011, the Senate approved a sweeping overhaul of the U.S. patent system. The overwhelmingly favorable 95-5 vote sets the stage for historic changes in how the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) grants patents, the way parties resolve disagreements over patent rights, and the resources available to the USPTO to operate efficiently. The Senate bill also represents a major victory for a group of manufacturers with an interest in modernizing the patent system and reducing their exposure to costly litigation.
China’s Inflation Worries in 2011: A New Tolerance Level?
Over the past decade, inflation has been relatively modest in China compared with other emerging markets in Asia. The recent acceleration in its inflation rate has grabbed worldwide attention and prompted worries about China's growth outlook in 2011. China's central government made it clear that price stabilization will be its top priority in 2011. This article explains in detail why inflation worries go beyond food and how China's economic rebalancing could impact its inflation rate in the near future.
Dissecting the U.S. Labor Market Challenge by Age and Educational Attainment
In this edition of Issues in Brief, Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI Economist Cliff Waldman examines the troubled U.S. labor market by considering the differential impact of high unemployment on a range of population groups segmented by age and educational attainment. He finds that the long-term trend in the labor force participation rate among these segments has, over time, resulted in a work force that has grown older and more educated, contributing to a structural decline in the unemployment rate since the 1980s. However, the recent job market downturn was especially difficult for the oldest and least educated cohorts, resulting in a significant current mix of less educated workers and workers at the highest end of the age spectrum in the pool of the unemployed. The paper briefly discusses the implications for labor market recovery, prospective employers, and government policy.
U.S. Trade Agenda Logjam Could Break in 2011
There are some encouraging signs that the logjam that has characterized the U.S. trade policy agenda could be breaking up. It is anticipated that the U.S.-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) will receive long overdue Congressional approval this spring. Moreover, the Obama Administration is stepping up negotiations to achieve what it sees as necessary changes to the FTAs previously negotiated with Colombia and Panama. It is likely that the United States will finally put its undeniable economic interests ahead of partisan posturing and move those latter two agreements this year as well.
This report points out the positive developments which point toward moving the trade agenda forward, examines the remaining sticking points, and sets forth the compelling arguments for completing ratification of the FTAs with Colombia and Panama.
China's Economic Outlook in 2011: More Sustainable Growth Rate Amid Inflation Worries
presented by Yingying Xu, Economist for the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI
Economist Yingying Xu discusses the outlook for economic growth and business conditions in China in this audiovisual report. The pace of consumer spending and investment growth is discussed. This year's economic performance is particularly important in China because it is the first year of the 12th 5-year plan. Dr. Xu addresses the appreciation of the RMB against the U.S. dollar and explains the reasons behind the recent acceleration of inflation in China. Consumer prices have been above the government's official target since last July. She explains the seriousness of the current wage-price spiral and what policies the Chinese government has implemented. The audiovisual presentation takes approximately 10 minutes to view.
U.S. Industrial Outlook: The Pace of Manufacturing Growth is Accelerating
A surge in imports damped the pace of growth in manufacturing in August and September 2010, but the industrial recovery is accelerating in early 2011. Consumer spending for durable goods saw strong growth in fourth-quarter 2010 and is likely to continue to grow rapidly, thanks to the new tax cuts. Business confidence surveys have recently shown improvement and indicate that a pickup in hiring is likely. Employment growth and modest wage increases will generate additional income to fund the pent-up demand for spending on some long postponed durable goods needs. Exports are another source of faster growth in manufacturing this year. The Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI raised its forecast substantially for industrial growth this year in response to the new stimulus program. Consumer spending for goods will increase at a faster rate and expensing for business equipment will particularly expand high-tech business investment.
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