US Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) said Trump’s presidency “might aid completion of the Dakota Access pipeline, should the dispute over the project linger.” Cramer thinks the matter “will be resolved before Trump takes office in January.”
The EPA said that “the fuel efficiency of new US vehicles hit a record high in 2015 even as more Americans bought larger trucks and SUVs instead of cars.” The EPA said the average fuel efficiency of new vehicles reached 24.8 mpg in the 2015 model year, up 0.5 mpg from 2014, and projected 25.6 mpg for 2016.
Oil Drillers Add Rigs
US oil drillers have added nine oil rigs in the past week to bring the total up to 450, following through on plans made when crude was trading for more than $50 a barrel, a level analysts say should lead to more drilling. Analysts at Cowen & Co said that 12 exploration and production companies planned to increase spending by 36 percent in 2017. Fuel Fix (TX) said in its blog that the number of active oil rigs has increased in 20 of the past 23 weeks in reaction to the price of oil reaching $50 a barrel. The majority of the new rigs are going to the Permian Basin in West Texas.
The Confederation of British Industry said that its “monthly growth indicator – which is based on surveys of how companies’ output has changed over the previous three months – rose to +8 in October from a six-month low of +3 in September.” CBI Chief Economist Rain Newton-Smith said, “Manufacturing exports are riding high on the back of weaker sterling and consumers are continuing to spend on the high street, but activity is more modest in the services sector.”
Fed Remains on Course
Amid a generally calm reaction by investors to the election of President-elect Donald Trump – the Federal Reserve “remains on course to raise its benchmark interest rate in December.” Some analysts “said Mr. Trump’s economic plans could prompt the Fed to keep increasing the rate.” Following its meeting last week, the Federal Open Market Committee “said...that the case for higher rates ‘continued to strengthen.’” However, Trump’s election “was viewed as one of the few developments that might throw a wrench into the works.”
New Policy Direction
Republican control of Washington “sets the stage for a sweeping shift in economic policy.” The centerpiece of Mr. Trump’s plans “is a major overhaul of the federal tax code,” including a proposed “sharp reduction in the taxation of businesses and a series of changes that would reduce income taxes for most American households.” The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center “estimated that Mr. Trump’s plan would cut federal revenues by $6.2 trillion over the next decade.”
Manufacturing Jobs on Rise
After dropping to 11.4 million manufacturing jobs in 2010 from 19.5 million in 1979, IndustryWeek (11/8) reports, total US manufacturing jobs have risen to 12.3 million this year, which means the US “has recovered 900,000 jobs.” However, the industry “still needs four million more jobs to return to a manufacturing base that we can call a growing and vibrant sector that supports the middle class and a healthy economy.” To increase manufacturing jobs, the “best short-term” solution is to repair the nation’s infrastructure. While doing so requires a $3 trillion investment, “it is an investment in America and will create millions of jobs.” In addition, the US needs “to enforce our current trade laws to counter industrial subsidies, intellectual property theft and barriers to market access by our trading partners.”
Whirlpool and other companies are adding collaborative robots to their factory floors that are able to stop if a person bumps into them, allowing the robots to operate in tight spaces. The article also says manufacturing executives say increased use of such robots will improve safety and increase productivity, which makes companies more competitive, leads to more sales, and presents job opportunities for high-skilled workers.
BP is signing a new partnership with Fulcrum BioEnergy, a company which makes biofuel from garbage. BP is investing $30 million and has signed a ten-year deal to buy 500 million gallons in an effort to reduce airplane pollution. Air BP Chief Executive Jon Platt said, “We have a deep understanding of our customers’ challenges to achieve their lower carbon goals. ... Securing this supply helps secure the future competitiveness of Air BP, and our place as a leader in the industry.”
Trucks and buses in the United States “may have to be equipped with devices to limit their speed under a proposed rule issued on by the U.S. Transportation Department which said the move could save both lives and fuel.” The department “will weigh setting speed limits at 60, 65 or 68 miles per hour for heavy commercial vehicles, but said it will consider other speeds based on comments from the public.” Some reports suggest that regulating truck speeds is an introduction to future limitations on speed and mileage for all vehicles.
Drones Restricted in US
A Washington Post editorial says that while FAA is phasing in, which will “allow companies to fly small drones...without a special waiver from the agency” avoid “several crucial mistakes that could have grounded a young industry,” they are still “quite restrictive, particularly the requirement that operators keep drones within their line of sight.” The Post argues that “officials used to decades of regulating big airliners need to do a more nimble job adapting to the revolution in unmanned and, some day soon, automated flight.”
Low Battery Demand
The Wall Street Journal reports the market for energy-storage batteries is small, and for Tesla’s new battery-producing Gigafactory to be successful, Elon Musk needs to create new demand for the company’s products. However, the Journal says the market already has a lot of potential competitors. UBS analyst Colin Langan says Tesla probably will sell about $230 million worth of batteries this year and $1 billion worth in 2017.
Stanford scientists released new results from a semiconductor materials test that could produce a new kind of chip capable of speeds 1,000 times faster than today’s memory chips. Stanford Associate Professor Aaron Lindenberg said the work is “fundamental but promising” and “suggests a path toward future memory technologies that could far outperform anything previously demonstrated.”
Engineers at the University of California’s Berkeley campus have built “dust-sized, wireless sensors that could be implanted in the human body, monitoring everything from muscles to nerves and organs.” The sensors could work inside the body “to keep track of how much we’re exercising, to stimulate the brain or muscles, or to monitor how certain organs are working.”
GM Boosts Hiring
GM is planning to add a third shift and 650 jobs to its Tennessee facility “to increase output” of the company’s Cadillac XT5 and GMC Acadia. The facility located about 40 miles south of Nashville is a flexible vehicle assembly and engine plant.