Manufacturing: 5 Things You Want to Know About This Week

U.S. Markit flash PMI moves lower in July
The Markit Economics flash manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) for the U.S. fell to 56.3 July for the U.S. According to the report on MarketWatch, is at its lowest level in three months.  {Source: MarketWatch)

Jobless Claims Drop to Eight-Year Low
According to an article on, the number of Americans filing applications for unemployment benefits fell by 19,000 to 284,000 in the week ended July 19. The drop is the lowest level in more than eight years. {Source:}

The gender gap in real-life numbers (Infographic)
Women have gained a lot of ground since the mid-1900’s, but that doesn’t mean that women are completely equal to men yet. In the world, women are still trying to get caught up in the workplace, especially regarding STEM careers, jobs in the government, and in their pay. Let’s break the tides of inequality once and for all. {Source:}

EPA Approves Petition for Exemption
On June 19, 2014, the U.S. EPA issued a direct final rule exempting manufacturers of three chemical substances from certain reporting-process-and-use information requirements under the Toxic Substances Control Act Chemical Data Reporting rule for those compounds.  Of note for food processors, The EPA may amend the list of partially exempt chemicals on its own initiative or in response to a petition submitted by the public requesting that a chemical be added to or removed from the partial exemption. The latter is the case with regard to the three chemicals at issue here — 1,3-propanediol (CAS No. 504-63-2); oils, palm kernel (CAS No. 8023-79-8); and bentonite, acid-leached (CAS No. 70131-50-9) were included in a petition submitted by the Corn Refiners Association, the Institute of Shortening and Edible Oils, and the National Oilseed Processors Association. The chemicals have food use applications that are already regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The three chemicals also are used to make a variety of preparations, including cosmetics, adhesives, finger paints and water treatment compounds. {Source:}

No More Clumsy Robots for Automation Industries
Researchers at the University of Birmingham in the U.K. have taught robots to pick up unfamiliar objects without dropping or breaking them. The research paves the way for robots to be used in more flexible ways and in more complex environments, especially where humans and robots need to work together. {Source;}