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Supply Chain by the Numbers

- April 11, 2024


Supply Chain by the Numbers for April 11, 2024


Amazon Labor Union's Shaky Finances; NRF Says Economy to be Lukewarm; Reaching Peak Oil Demand; Fergnson Opening DCs Closer to Customers



That was the net worth – negative – of the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) at the end of 2023, according to recent government filings, as reported this week by the Washington Free Beacon. The union burst on the scene in 2021 when it led the the first US vote to go a union’s way at an Amazon logistics facility, in a campaign won by the makeshift union led by former Amazon FC worker Christian Smalls. But so far Amazon has fended off a union contract, meaning the union has no dues-paying members. And outside donations from labor-friendly groups have also dried up. So the ALU is broke. Former staff members are fighting to force a vote this summer to elect new union leadership. No other US facilities have seen successful union votes since the 2021 victory at an FC in Staten Island, NY.



That is the number of distribution centers that Ferguson, one of the largest plumbing and heating materials distributors in the US, is adding in major cities across North America over the next two years. The catalyst for the move? What else, the desire to support rapid-delivery capabilities in an increasingly competitive sector serving professional contractors. CEO Kevin Murphy said that contractors have become accustom to fast shipping in their personal lives and now expect speedy fulfillment for materials, from toilets and water heaters to piping, that they need on job sites. Murphy said the company plans to eventually open distribution centers in all major US cities.



That is the growth in real GDP forecast for 2024 by the National Retail Federation (NRF) in its Monthly Economic Review. That is slower than last year’s 2.5% growth but still strong enough to sustain job growth that drives consumer spending, the NRF adds. It also says consumer spending is expected to be up about 2%, which compares with 2.3% last year. NRF forecast last month that retail sales will grow this year between 2.5% and 3.5%. While that marks a slowdown from the unusually rapid growth seen since the pandemic, the projection is in line with the 10-year pre-pandemic average of 3.6% annual growth. “No one could have imagined when the COVID-19 recession ended in April 2020 that we would have experienced such a resilient expansion that is now headed toward its fifth year,” said National Retail Federation Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz.




That is the earliest year global oil demand will reach its peak, according to a new report from energy researcher Enverus this week. That will mean that crude demand will rise to about 108 million barrels a day by 2030, which is about 3 million barrels a day more than last year’s prediction for the year, according to the report’s author, Al Salazar. Key factors in the revised forecast: underwhelming fuel economy standards and slowing adoption of electric vehicles being seen in the US. Last month, top oil executives attending a conference held by S&P Global mostly said they expect consumption to rise for many years to come. The Enverus report also predicts that rising supply costs and a lack of new projects will likely push crude prices higher, particularly after 2030.
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