News and announcements from the web that might be of interest to Vermont manufacturers and other employers.  You can look up past posts on our News & Views blog.

The 10 hidden threats to manufacturers.  Manufacturing Global 5/14
"'Across America, manufacturers' optimism is soaring, in no small part because of President Trump's laser-like focus on pursuing bold action, particularly on rethinking red tape to address regulatory reform, to accelerate a jobs surge in America,' said the National Association of Manufacturers' President and CEO Jay Timmons in a recent interview. . . ."

US businesses increased stockpiles slightly in March.  AP/Washington Post 5/12
"U.S. businesses increased their stockpiles slightly in March, while their sales were flat. . . ."

U.S. industrial production likely to have picked up modestly in April, says Wells Fargo.  EconoTimes 5/12
"The U.S. industrial production expanded in March, recording the second largest rise in over a year. But the growth was nearly entirely driven by a sharp rise in utilities output that reflected the return of more normal temperatures in March. Looking past the headline, manufacturing production dropped 0.4 percent year-on-year, breaking a six-month string of growth. . . ."

Americans Believe Manufacturing Industry Critical to Country's Prosperity.  IndustryWeek 5/11
"A high percentage of Americans want their government to invest further in the manufacturing sector. A new survey from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute reported that quarters (76%) of Americans surveyed believe the U.S. should invest further in the manufacturing industry. . . ."

What Can Augmented Reality Do for Manufacturing? Engineering 5/11
"One of the things that surprised me most about last year's IMTS was the sheer number of virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) devices present in the exhibitor booths. The HTC Vive and Oculus Rift were frequent sights, but even more surprising was the appearance of Microsoft's Hololens.  'Surely,' I thought, 'this is just a marketing gimmick. Manufacturers aren't seriously considering using AR on the factory floor already, are they? . . .'"

Losing Sleep Over Your Digital Manufacturing Strategy? You're Not the First.  Forbes 5/11
"The digitization of manufacturing is a pretty big topic these days. The vision for an information-driven model that touches nearly every aspect of the product transformation process is pretty exciting. It can also be – for those in the midst of it – a pretty heavy mix of anticipation, excitement, skepticism and trepidation. Finding little examples of how things in our lives have changed for the better with digitization can provide some comfort: how we pay for things from our phones, how recommendations for our next great read appear magically when we visit Amazon or how navigating an unfamiliar city is a snap. But what about wholesale transformation? Is there an industry that has some lessons for manufacturers? I don't think you have to look too much further than marketing. . . ."

Additive Grows and Has Growing Pains.  Advanced Manufacturing 5/11
"Additive manufacturing is both growing and coping with growing pains. . . ."

Manufacturers' Slow, but Steady Migration to the Cloud.  Automation World 5/10
"While businesses of all types make a steady march to the cloud, manufacturers are pursuing a hybrid strategy, opting to retain some foundational plant-floor systems on premise while earmarking analytics and production applications for migration to the new environment. . . ."

The Evolution of Medicine and Manufacturing.  Advanced Manufacturing 5/9
"Metalworking and medicine have been working hand-in-hand for better than two millennia. This is not something that will come to an end anytime soon, but new materials have arrived on the scene, joining and sometimes supplanting metals. . . ."

US Economic Confidence Index Now at 2017 Low.  Gallup 5/9
"Americans' views of the economy remain positive on balance, but just barely. Gallup's U.S. Economic Confidence Index averaged +3 for the week ending May 7. The index is down four points from two weeks ago and now sits at a nominal low for the year after trending downward from its early March peak. . . ."
"New orders for U.S.-made goods increased for a fourth straight month in March and orders for capital equipment were stronger than previously reported, pointing to a sustained recovery in the manufacturing sector. . . ."

US Small-Business Owners' Optimism Remains Strong.  Gallup 5/4
"Small-business owners remain optimistic about their business situation, with the Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business Index at +95 in the latest update conducted April 3-7. Although this is down marginally from the +100 recorded in February, the two measurements this year represent a strong increase over 2016 index scores and are at the highest level since the Great Recession. One year ago, the index was at +64. . . ."

US trade deficit narrows in March.  AP/Washington Post 5/4
"The U.S. trade deficit narrowed in March to the lowest level since October as both exports and imports fell. But the politically sensitive trade gap with China rose. . . ."

New overtime bill allows employers to offer time off instead of cash.  USA Today 5/3
"Cash or time off?  If Republicans have their way, it’s a choice more companies will be able to offer their hourly-wage employees working overtime. . . ."

Ross Says TPP Could Form Starting Point for U.S. on NAFTA Talks.  Bloomberg 5/3
"Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said parts of an Asia-Pacific trade deal rejected by the Trump administration could form the basis of a revamped North American Free Trade Agreement. . . ."

American manufacturing is having a moment.  CNN Money 5/1
"Job gains are up so far this year after being down last year. The latest industry figures released Monday show factory owners are feeling good. . . ."