Economic Recession & Recovery
Congress and the news media continue to focus almost completely on the question of where we will find new sources of conventional but clean energy. Yet, the surprising insight is that the robustness of our economy squarely depends on more productive investments in energy efficiency. Indeed, the overwhelming emphasis today on new energy supplies is “crowding out” a meaningful national dialogue and progress on achieving greater efficiency in an economy that today wastes 87% of the energy we use.
A story in Monday's New York Times reports that the costs of marine freight are again increasing as the global economy recovers. This trend is a reemergence of a trend that ACEEE noted in the last half of the past decade. Part of this trend is competition for capacity, but much of it results from infrastructure constraints at U.S. ports that increase the cost and delay imports into the U.S.
<p>A <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/02/business/economy/02manufacturing.html?... in today's New York Times highlighted a fact that ACEEE has been hearing for several years, which is there is a shortage of skilled manufacturing workers (as I discussed last year in my Senate Energy <a href="/tstimony/032409_senate_RNE.pdf">testimony</a>).
<p>The <a href="http://www.ism.ws/about/?navItemNumber=4884">Institute of Supply Management</a> reported today that <a href="http://www.ism.ws/ISMReport/MfgROB.cfm">activity in 16 of 18 industry sectors increased last month</a>, for the 10th consecutive month of manufacturing growth. The only industry groups that contracted were petroleum and coal.</p>
<p><a href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100514/ap_on_bi_go_ec_fi/us_economy">Three federal data reports released today</a> provide further evidence of a sustained recovery in the manufacturing sector.
<p>Business investment is rebounding rapidly, reversing directing from the drastic cutbacks and plant closings that began almost two years ago.
<p>While <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100331/ap_on_bi_go_ec_fi/us_economy">reports </a>indicate that factor orders increased for the 10th month out of the past 11, inventories grew at a slower rate than anticipated indicating continued caution on the part of companies. The bright spots are in investments in manufacturing equipment that suggest a growing recovery in manufacturing capacity.
<p>In December, ACEEE and 26 other leading trade associations, industrial firms, and NGOs signed a letter in support of provisions in upcoming jobs legislation that will create jobs, improve energy efficiency in manufacturing, and help make American industry more competitive.</p>
<p><a class="linktopdf" href="/files/pdf/policy-brief/Manufacturing_EE_in_Jobs_Bill_Letter.pdf">The letter can be read in full here</a>.</p>
<p>According to a <a href="http://www.ism.ws/ISMReport/MfgROB.cfm">new report released by the Institute for Supply Management</a>, in December the U.S. manufacturing sector grew for the fifth straight month. The ISM's index of national factory activity rose to 55.9 from 53.6, putting it at its highest level since April 2006.<br />
<p><a href="http://cache.boston.com/resize/bonzai-fba/AP_Photo/2009/12/09/1260346280... alt="" class="floatright" src="http://cache.boston.com/resize/bonzai-fba/AP_Photo/2009/12/09/1260346280... /></a>Yesterday, President Obama <a href="