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Supply Chain by the Numbers

- Feb. 2, 2023


Supply Chain by the Numbers for Feb. 2, 2023


US Unionization Rate Falls again in 2022; UPS 2023 Revenue to Drop; January US PMI Declines again; Hydrogen Truck Maker Nikola Claims Breakthough




That was the level of unionization across all US jobs at the end of 2022, according to a report last week from Labor Department last week. That was down from 10.3% in 2021, and continues a decline in unions despite a very pro-labor administration. For a long time the prototypical union shop hasn’t been a private autp plant but a public school, yet the unionized share of government employees also fell last year. The workforce in 2012 was 11.3% unionized, and in 2002 it was 13.3%. Organized labor hasn’t been able to stop the trend, despite frantic unionization drives, including many aimed at non-traditional members, such as the university graduate students, some of whom work under the United Auto Workers banner. Private workers are 6% unionized, down from 8.6% two decades ago. How low can it go? Hard to say.


$97-99.4 Billion

That is the range of revenue parcel and logistics giant UPS expects in 2023. Why is that newsworthy? Because with 2022 sales of $100.3 billion, it means annual revenue at UPS could decline for the first time since 2009. The forecast comes after the company surprisingly saw a decline in Q4 2022 revenue after delivering fewer parcels during the Christmas season than in 2021. Package volume across UPS' domestic and international operations both declined. On-line sales growth is slowing sharply, and the large delivey networks that UPS and rival FedEx operate are sufferng due to geopolitical and economic forces that are reducing global trade volumes. UPS is also facing potentially contentious labor negotiations this year with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, a union that represents around 350,000 UPS employees.




That was the level of the Purchasing Managers Index for January as released Wednesday by the Institute for Supply Management (ISM. That was one percentage point lower than the seasonally adjusted 48.4 recorded in December. The PMI also came in below the key 50 mark that separates US manufacturing expansion from contraction for the third consecutive month. It is also the lowest level since May 2020, when it registered a seasonally adjusted 43.5. In perhaps worse economic news, the New Orders Index remained in contraction territory at a low score of 42.5, 2.6 percentage points lower than the seasonally adjusted figure of 45.1 recorded in December, in a negative sign for future US manufacturing activity.




That’s how many minutes it will take to fully charge the new Nikola Tre model hydrogen-powered semi-tractor, according to the company last week, providing a range of 50 miles. That time about how long it takes to fill up a traditional truck with diesel, and much faster than it takes to fully charge a pure electric tractor battery. Hydrogen trucks and cars use that fuel to charge an on-board battery. One key benefit: the system emits only water vapor. Nikola also says it has launched a new hydrogen production business and fuel stations that will operate under a new HYLA brand and will supply both its own tractors and those of other hydrogen truck manufacturers. Nikola says it has also developed mobile fueling units to support initial customers but plans to have 60 hydrogen stations up and running by 2026. What’s more, most hydrogen produced today is made from natural gas, a fossil fuel. But Nikola, hydrogen fork truck maker Plug Power and others plan to sell hydrogen made mainly from renewable electricity and water rather than natural gas, making a highly Green total system.

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