North American shipment volume and payments were up for the third month in a row. While first quarter GDP was an anemic 0.2 percent, it is not representative of the freight moving in the nation. Both the railroad and truck sectors reported increased loads in April. The strength of the U.S. dollar is boosting imports but hampering exports.
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 223,000 in April, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 5.4 percent, the U.S. Bureau
of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, and construction. Mining employment continued to decline.
In what is being described as an effort to “restore service levels,” container shipping lines comprising the Transpacific Stabilization Agreement (TSA) are attempting to pull off a significant rate hike this summer.
“Although the leading economic index still points to a moderate expansion in economic activity, its slowing growth rate over recent months suggests weaker growth may be ahead,” said Ataman Ozyildirim, Economist at The Conference Board. “Building permits was the weakest component this month, but average working hours and manufacturing new orders have also slowed the LEI’s growth over the last six months.”
Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in April for the 28th consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 71st consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®.
The last of the striking Long Beach and Los Angeles port truck drivers ended their picketing today with employees of Pacific 9 Transportation (Pac 9) returning to work.
Question: What is TPA?
Answer: Trade Promotion Authority—or TPA—is a partnership between Congress and the administration that helps secure the most effective trade agreements possible. It has three main components: a list of congressionally-prescribed negotiating objectives that sets priorities for the administration to follow; robust consultation and transparency requirements that give Congress adequate oversight of negotiations and give the public a full understanding of what an agreement would mean; and a streamlined procedure to vote on a trade agreement if the administration meets its TPA obligations.
Trade Agreements Put on Fast Track
The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act (TPA)  introduced by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) easily passed its first hurdle when both House and Senate committees agreed to give President Obama fast-track authority to negotiate trade deals such as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP). The bipartisan legislation also allows Congress to vote on the treaties. But the package of bills intended to speed completion of the deal also imposes difficult burdens on its negotiators. The legislation faces difficult fights over amendments on human trafficking, currency and investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS).