Midwest Memo: Automotive numbers may tell whether manufacturing has regained its stride

Three stories making news across the Midwest today:

1. Economists await automotive sales numbers. The U.S. manufacturing sector slowed following the Japanese nuclear catastrophe. This week, economists hope new data will show an uptick in automotive sales and, in turn, growth in orders for U.S. automotive suppliers.

Changing Gears senior editor Micki Maynard tells partner station WBEZ that the automotive sales numbers will not only help measure the manufacturing sector, but act as an overall indicator of health of the U.S. economy. “Car sales always depend on employment, jobs and housing,” she said. “If those things are not lining up, car sales won’t go up in any specific way.”

2. Labor unions decry Detroit mayor’s ‘scare tactics.’ Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has told union leaders the city’s school district must help save $121 million in health care and pension costs or face takeover from a state-appointment emergency financial manager. So far, some union leaders are daring Bing and the state to appoint one – they believe the emergency managers championed by Gov. Rick Snyder will be  unconstitutional.

3. Wisconsin adopts two-year budget. Gov. Scott Walker signed a two-year, $66 billion budget that cuts nearly $800 million from public schools and business taxes, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported today. The budget closes a $3 billion shortfall. Walker signed the budget at Fox Valley Metal-Tech, a site that highlighted a tax cut for manufacturers included in the budget.

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