CIRAS Digest: Tuesday, January 5, 2016

  • CNBC is citing a Monday report from the Institute for Supply Management that it it’s “index of national factory activity” fell again in December. Construction is down, too. CNN’s headline on the same story calls it the index’s “worst level since 2009.”
  • Meanwhile, China continues to shrink. Reuters says the combination of Chinese, European and American manufacturing difficulties might “suggest global economy still fragile.” The Guardian describes “intensified worries about the year ahead for the world’s second largest economy.
  • And, the trend holds true closer to home. Radio Iowa is citing Creighton University economist Ernie Goss as saying December showed the fourth straight month of “ailing employment numbers,” as the nine-state region that includes Iowa lost more than 18,000 manufacturing jobs during 2015.
  • But, while all this is going on, Iowa is working on other stuff. According to The Des Moines Register, two Democratic state legislators left Monday for a trade mission to Cuba.
  • Meanwhile, do you want to read a pretty good overview of the link between automation, productivity and the increasingly difficult competition for skilled workers? The Wisconsin State Journal had a piece over the weekend describing the link between robots, Baby Boomers and the need to lure more young people in to manufacturing.
  • And finally, in the Something to Watch category, Gov. Terry Branstad is proposing to shift $4.7 billion from Iowa sales tax receipts from school building projects to water quality initiatives. According to The Des Moines Register, it’d happen over a period of roughly three decades.

That’s it. Thanks for reading.

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