Day: January 18, 2009

Industrial Production Falls 2% in December

Industrial production fell 2% in December, and declines were again widespread. Output was revised up in October, but it was revised down in November; for the fourth quarter as a whole, total industrial production decreased 11.5% at an annual rate.

At 103.6% of its 2002 average, output in December was 7.8% below its year-earlier level. In December, manufacturing production dropped 2.3%.

The output of mines moved down 1.6%, and the output of electric and gas utilities was little changed. Capacity utilization for total industry fell to 73.6% in December, a level 7.4 percentage points below its average level from 1972 to 2007.

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MSC Case Illustrates Complexities in Doing Business with Government

The Melville, NY-based distributor of metalworking and MRO supplies, MSC Industrial Direct Co. Inc., is facing an audit by the General Services Administration related to government sales and compliance with the Trade Agreements Act. According to an SEC filing of its quarterly results, "the U.S. Department of Justice has advised the company that GSA OIG's audit identified non-compliant sales and potential liability arising therefrom." MSC reported however that it does not anticipate its potential liability, if any, to have "any material adverse effect on the company's consolidated financial position, results of operations or liquidity."
And that's all we know. MSC is one of many companies that do business with the government, which has stringent rules ...