Connect with Us

Economic Briefing Blog

A Rebound in Housing: What the Permits Data are Showing

Each month, the U.S. Census Bureau surveys a sample of local building permit offices and releases data on the total number of permits issued for new private residential construction. (The next monthly construction release is scheduled for tomorrow, June 18th at 8:30 a.m.) Once per year, however, the bureau surveys all 20,000 permit offices in the country to get a complete accounting of permits issued during the calendar year. These data underlie the annual benchmark revision of the building permit data, the latest of which was released on May 1 for calendar year 2012.

Retail Sales and Dating: Consider the Ex

As analysts dig into the upbeat retail sales data released June 13th, which saw sales climb a solid 0.6 percent in May, they often focus on the “exes”: retail sales excluding motor vehicles, excluding gasoline, etc. These data show retail sales without certain industry segments whose volatility might mask underlying sales trends. Let’s focus briefly on one ex in particular, retail trade excluding motor vehicles, and compare it to our faithful partner, the headline retail sales and food services series.

Assess Costs Everywhere: Product Quality

"Good enough" is a phrase that does not belong on the factory floor. Today’s factory processes must meet exacting specifications, and this need underlies many U.S. manufacturers’ decisions to reassess where they are producing or sourcing. Consider that 46 percent of respondents to a 2010 Accenture survey of North American manufacturing companies had "experienced product quality concerns as a result of offshored manufacturing and supply operations," and that 11 percent had product safety concerns.

Breaking Down the Urban-Rural Broadband Divide

While broadband availability has expanded for all parts of the United States, NTIA data has consistently shown that urban areas have greater access to broadband at faster speeds than rural areas. In a new report released today, NTIA and the Commerce Department’s Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA) delve deeper into the differences between broadband availability in rural and urban areas.

Assess Costs Everywhere: The Real Cost of Inventory

All manufacturing companies, regardless of where they manufacture their products or source their inputs, must develop strategies that account for the amount of time that passes between ordering new products and receiving those products. However, when production and supply chains extend overseas, many companies find the need to maintain larger domestic inventories because larger inventories help them meet short-term demand surges. Larger inventories also provide a buffer against delayed, defective, or incomplete deliveries.

Are The Numbers There Yet?

How Do The Census Bureau And Bureau Of Economic Analysis Set Data Release Dates?

Assess Costs Everywhere: Trade Financing Costs

The Department of Commerce recently introduced the Assess Costs Everywhere tool, which outlines the costs and risks firms need to weigh when considering location of manufacturing operations and supply chains. Trade financing and associated costs are especially relevant to manufacturers with overseas suppliers. These firms must consider more than just the selling prices of the items they plan to purchase. Purchasing goods and supplies from foreign countries requires different payment methods from buying domestically.

Assess Costs Everywhere: Shipping

Companies that consider moving their manufacturing activities or supply chains outside the United States should carefully consider the total cost of shipping. Expected gains from offshoring can often be erased by long shipping times, rising or fluctuating shipping costs, regulatory fees, and unexpected delays.

Assess Costs Everywhere: Firms Can Trip Up By Forgetting About Travel Costs

The Department of Commerce’s recently released Assess Costs Everywhere (ACE) tool helps firms understand the total costs and risks associated with deciding where to locate their operations or supply chains. These costs range from labor and shipping to product quality to regulatory compliance. We will explore travel costs in this blog.

Assess Costs Everywhere: Today’s Cheap Labor May Be More Costly Tomorrow

The Department of Commerce recently introduced the Assess Costs Everywhere tool, which outlines the costs and risks firms need to weigh when considering location of manufacturing operations and supply chains. Labor is at the top of the list. Indeed, businesses cite labor costs as a top factor driving production-location decisions. While perceptions of less expensive labor abroad may have led some businesses to locate outside the U.S., some companies have found that expected savings from foreign labor have whittled away over time in numerous and unexpected ways.

Pages

Subscribe to Economic Briefing Blog
Subscribe

Subscribe to Economic Indicators

Subscribe with your email address to stay up-to-date with our economic indicators!

Go to top