• The US Chamber Bulletin – September 15, 2022

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    September 16, 2022
    U.S. Chamber of Commerce


    Top Takeaways

    • Railroads and their unions avoided a railroad shutdown that would have been an economic catastrophe.
    • Retail sales rose in August, giving hope that consumers can continue supporting the economy.
    • There's a wide range of opposition to an antitrust bill in Congress.
    • The Global Aerospace Summit brought together top leaders from aviation, space, and defense.

    Developments That Matter

    Railroad Shutdown Averted

    Earlier today, railroads came to an agreement with their unions to avoid the first railroad shut down in 30 years.

    Why it matters: A shutdown would have been an economic catastrophe, costing more than $2 billion per day.

    Our take: “The U.S. Chamber commends the nation’s six largest railroads, the twelve unions, and the Biden administration for reaching agreement on a new labor contract. This is the best outcome for the American public and is a testament to the hard work and willingness to compromise from both sides,” said Chamber President and CEO Suzanne P. Clark.

    Be smart: On CNN today, Chamber Executive Vice President Neil Bradley explained what we avoided: "What we would have seen is empty store shelves, not just the meat counter but all across the store, and rising prices for everything that is left.”

    Bottom line: “Our nation was very close to a national rail shutdown this week, the effects of which were already beginning to be felt throughout the business community and would have had devastating impacts to American families and our economy,” Clark noted. “We are glad to see a rail strike averted and hope to see future negotiations finalized in a timely manner.”

    Economic Viewpoints

    Retail Sales Grew Above Inflation in August


    In August, retail sales rose 0.3%. With inflation at 0.1% last month, this means a real increase in spending.

    Why it matters: The ongoing consumer strength gives hope that it can keep the economy afloat while the Fed raises interest rates to fight inflation.

    Yes, but: One key thing to watch in the coming month is interest-sensitive spending categories. The housing market is cooling with interest rates rising. We should expect a similar decline for other spending that relies on borrowing.
    ·    The decline in spending at furniture and electronics and appliance stores follows this pattern.
    ·    The rise in spending on cars bucks it, but the lingering supply chain issues for automotive companies means it may be an outlier.
    By the numbers:
    ·    Sales were up at motor vehicles and parts dealers (2.8%), building material and garden supply stores (1.1%), food and beverage stores (0.5%), clothing and accessory stores (0.4%), sporting goods and hobby stores (0.5%), general merchandise stores (0.5%), miscellaneous stores (1.6%), and food and drinking places (1.1%).
    ·    They were down at furniture stores (1.3%), electronics and appliance stores (0.1%), health and personal care stores (0.6%), gas stations (4.2%), and non-store retailers (0.7%).
    Go deeper:
    ·    Access this Chamber slide deck [PDF and PowerPoint] with up-to-date economic data and charts.
    —Curtis Dubay, Chief Economist, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


    Top Of Mind

    Antitrust Bill Faces Broad Opposition

    As the Congressional clock ticks down, one bill, the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, faces an uphill battle with a range of diverse stakeholders opposing it.

    Why it matters: The bill would let unelected bureaucrats strip consumers’ rights to choose popular products and services.

    Be smart: A broad swath of individuals and organizations oppose the bill: And: 70% of voters oppose Congressional proposals to add new antitrust regulations for technology companies.

    Our take: The bill “is a significant departure from the history of American antitrust legislation which has long been based on the consumer welfare standard,” Sean Heather, Senior Vice President for International Regulatory Affairs and Antitrust, explained.

    “Only when consumers, not competitors, are negatively impacted in terms of price or service is antitrust enforcement appropriate.” 

    Read More

    Aerospace Industry Soars

    This week, the Chamber’s Global Aerospace Summit gathered top leaders from commercial aviation, space, and defense to discuss the industry’s impact on the economy.

    Why it matters: Air travel is recovering following the pandemic, and the space economy is on its way to being a trillion-dollar industry by 2040.

    Be smart: Here are two highlights from the summit: Watch:


    Small Business, Big Impact

    6 Inexpensive Perks and Benefits to Offer Your Employees
    They don’t have to break the bank.
    Learn More


    Chamber In Action

    • Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Gary Gensler testified before the Senate Banking Committee today on the agency’s proposed climate disclosure rules. Tom Quaadman, Executive Vice President for the Chamber’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness noted, “With thousands of comments filed, it is clear that public companies, investors, and auditors are in agreement that the SEC’s proposed rules are overly complex and fail to provide investors with useful information they can use to make decisions.”
    • "There’s so much time that happens from zero to 18 years old. And if we ignore that as part of this workforce challenge, then we do so at our peril," says Vice President of Education and Workforce Cheryl Oldham on the U.S. Chamber Foundation's blog.
    • Hiring Our Heroes is partnering with Toyota to give away a new vehicle to an active-duty service member, veteran, or military spouse. Enter here.


    Upcoming Events

    TPM National Learning Network

    September 26 – September 27
    5:30 PM – 4:00 PM ET 

    This event will help enhance your Talent Pipeline Management efforts, no matter where you are in implementation. 
    Learn More


    Health Forward

    Tuesday, October 4
    1:00 PM – 3:00 PM ET

    The top thinkers and doers in healthcare share game-changing solutions and insights that tackle the industry’s most pressing problems.
    Learn More


    National Summit on Equality of Opportunity

    Advancing Inclusive Growth: Strengthening America’s Workforce and Minority-Owned Businesses

    Thursday, October 6
    3:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET

    We’ll partner with private and public sector leaders to unite the business community around solutions that drive economic progress and ensure Black Americans and people of color have greater opportunities to succeed. 
    Learn More


    Sustainability & Circular Economy Summit 2022

    Tuesday, October 11
    Washington, D.C. 

    Professionals, government leaders, academics, and sustainability changemakers gather to help the private sector develop sustainability. 
    Learn More


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