OMB Staff Gets The Axe
According to White House press secretary Jay Carney on Monday, due to the
across-the-board budget cuts known as the sequester, nearly 500 staffers at the
White House Office of Management and Budget office have been given furlough
notices. Carney would not give information about other agencies but said, “As
the impact of the sequester progresses, furlough and pay cuts remain
possibilities for additional White House employees.” Between April 21 and
September 7, 480 employees at the OMB, part of the executive office of the
president, would need to take 10 days off. On April 10, President Barack Obama
will release his next budget to allow time for OMB staff to complete that
document before taking forced, unpaid days off.
Chinese regulators are considering a crack-down on Apple Inc. (AAPL) amid
complaints that its customer service policies are less favorable in China than
other markets. CEO Tim Cook on Monday promised to improve Apple’s repair policy
for iPhone 4 and 4S models as well as, improve supervision and training of
authorized service providers in China. The Asian region has accounted for 12.5%
of total revenue for Apple during fiscal first quarter, up from 8.8% from same
period 2011. Strong growth in the Asian region contributed to the decision by
Apple, in its most recent earnings report to give greater geographic detail on
its operating results. During Apple's first fiscal quarter that ended December
29, sales surged 67% for the Asian region including China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Greater China was Apple’s fastest growing geography.
Markit's U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) for Q1 2013 released
Monday morning came in at 54.6 in March, down from flash reading of 54.9 but
above February's 54.3.
According to the U.S. Commerce Department, during February, construction
spending grew 1.2% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $885.1 billion and
was 7.9% stronger than February 2012. Residential construction spending grew 2%
on the month.
Institute for Supply Management (ISM) index fell to 51.3% in March from 54.2% in
February, per data released on Monday. The pace of expansion in the U.S.
manufacturing sector slowed sharply in March to the lowest level since December.
ISM employment gauge rose to 54.2% from 52.6%. New-orders gauge from ISM fell
sharply lower to 51.3% from 57.8%. ISM production index tumbled to 52.2% from
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April 1, 2013