Brexit, European Growth and the Female Workforce
Monday, February 11, 2019
Posted by: Alyce Ryan
AICC, through its membership in the Council of Manufacturing Associations, is pleased to present the "Top Takes on Manufacturing, Politics and Policy - Input” from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MANUFACTURERS (NAM).
Putting All Your Eggs in One Brexit
The deadline for the United Kingdom’s (UK) exit from the European Union (EU) is fast-approaching (March 29), and Prime Minister Theresa May is still scrambling to forge a deal that both the British and the EU will accept. This week, she’s been back in Brussels.
May is now promising that if the EU makes binding changes to the agreement already worked out, she can get it through her parliament—and “on time.”
More, from the BBC:
- “European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker again ruled out the kind of changes Mrs. May wants to see.”
- “But the two sides agreed to further talks to break the deadlock.”
- “Mrs. May said she had also spoken to European Council President Donald Tusk about his comments on Wednesday about there being a ‘special place in hell’ for those who campaigned for Brexit without a plan to deliver it safely.”
May and Juncker will get together again later this month, and May is expected to present an agreement to parliament at the end of the month. If it passes, the UK and EU can avoid the chaos and business disruption of a “no-deal” Brexit. If not…
Let’s move on to European economics.
Gloomy Outlook for the EU
The EU has cut its growth projections for this year, citing a range of factors, including decreasing factory orders in Germany, the Italian recession, slowing growth in China, uncertainty due to Brexit and ongoing protests in France. What a combination!
Here’s more from The Wall Street Journal (subscription):
- “Adding to growing concerns about the strength of the global economy this year, the European Commission slashed its growth forecasts for Germany and Italy, with the latter expected to come close to stagnation. The Bank of England [BOE] sounded a similar warning on the global economy, saying it expected to see a ‘sharper and more persistent’ slowdown.”
- “The EU forecasts gross domestic product in the 19-member eurozone will grow by 1.3% in 2019 instead of the 1.9% forecast in November. The economy is expected to expand by 1.6% next year, down from 1.7% previously expected.”
And it doesn’t look good for the UK, either:
- “BOE Gov. Mark Carney warned a messy divorce with the EU could push the U.K. into recession.”
- “‘When the economy is growing more slowly, the probability of it having a negative quarter or two goes up,’ Mr. Carney told reporters in a news conference. ‘If there is a shock…that further increases the possibility of negative quarters.’”
Even worse, the EU Commission thinks that European growth could underperform even these forecasts.
Union Membership Static in 2018
Private-sector unions saw a .1 percent decline in membership this past year, according to IndustryWeek, which dug into the Department of Labor’s numbers:
- “The percentage of private sector union-represented workers dropped from 6.5% in 2017 to 6.4% in 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor.”
- “The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions totaled 14.7 million in 2018 and was little changed from 2017.”
- “In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1% and the U.S. boasted 17.7 million union workers.”
Public unions continue to outperform private-sector unions—at 33.9 percent participation versus 6.4 percent.