RIMA News April 2019

Wishing You Success This Month...
 Our job here at RIMA is to give you, the manufacturers, the ability and resources to continue and compete and grow among others in the industry.

We are excited to share a number of upcoming events and stories with you!
Women are Critical to Manufacturing's Future
  • The National Association of Manufacturing will honor 100 women for their contributions to manufacturing
  • Women are underrepresented and underutilized in the manufacturing workforce. Despite making up about half of all workers overall, they account for less than one-third of manufacturing workers. Compounding this problem and creating an urgency around getting more women into manufacturing is the fact that plenty of jobs are out there ready to be filled, as manufacturers currently face a workforce crisis.
  • In fact, there are about half a million jobs open in manufacturing right now, and we expect to need to fill about 4.6 million manufacturing jobs over the next decade. A study by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute—the education and workforce partner of NAM and the organization I lead—finds that more than half of those job openings could go unfilled unless we attract, educate and retain more workers to fill them.

May 14
Time: 7:30am - 10am

June 10
Time: 11:00am - 7pm

August 7
Time: 7:30am - 10am

September 23
Time: 8:00am - 12:00pm

Keep checking our events page to keep updated on new events and upcoming registration information!
**** Member Spotlight ****
This Month's Member in the Spotlight...
American Cord & Webbing Co.

Founded in 1917, ACW is an ISO 9001:2015 certified global manufacturing company specializing in narrow textiles, injected molded plastic, and custom strap assemblies. ACW is the only U.S. company to manufacturer both webbing and plastic hardware such as buckles combined with a full custom industrial sewing and assembly department under one roof. Through production expertise and unique full-service capabilities. ACW's innovative products are manufactured to solve our customer's production challenges and meet their specifications across all industries worldwide.
National Association of Manufacturing
Another Record High for U.S. Job Openings
  • Job openings in the manufacturing sector rose from 435,000 in January to 452,000 in February, with increased activity for both durable and nondurable goods firms. With that said, the pace of job postings has pulled back somewhat from 501,000 in December, which matched the record high in August. Still, over the past 12 months, manufacturing job openings have been a solid 467,000 each month.
  • Manufacturing production has softened in the past two months since reaching the best output levels since June 2008 in December, down 0.4 percent in February. In February, production decreased in 12 of the 19 major sectors for the month. With some disappointing data in February, manufacturing production grew just 1.0 percent over the past 12 months. At the same time, manufacturing capacity utilization has dropped from 76.2 percent in December, the best reading since July 2015, to 75.4 in February, a nine-month low.
  • Manufacturers in the New York Federal Reserve Bank's district reported that activity continued to grow modestly in March, slowing from the pace in February. New orders and shipments slowed but hiring strengthened for the month. More importantly, respondents remained upbeat about the next six months. This is the first of the regional Federal Reserve district surveys for March.
NAM: Mexico Border Issues
The NAM is warning policymakers of the high costs of closing the border—and reminding them of the urgent need for a bipartisan, commonsense immigration fix, such as the NAM’s own “A Way Forward” proposal. NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray laid out the numbers:
•           “More than 21,000 manufacturing companies in America export to Mexico.”
•           “In 2018, the U.S. exported $265 billion of goods across the Mexico border.”
•           “Businesses, including manufacturers and farmers, will lose $726 million every day the border is closed.”
•           “The jobs of nearly 1 million American manufacturing workers are related directly to exports to Mexico, and those jobs would be immediately at risk should the border close.”
•           “More than 3.3 million American jobs in other sectors of the U.S. economy that have been created as a result of these export-related jobs would also be at risk.”
Industry Week News
U.S. Factory Gauge Rises from Two-Year Low
A gauge of U.S. factories topped estimates in March, rising from a two-year low on strength in employment and orders and signaling stabilization after a rocky few months. The Institute for Supply Management index rose to 55.3 from 54.2 as three of five main components increased. The result topped estimates in a Bloomberg survey calling for a rise to 54.5 and remained above the 50 level that indicates expansion. Sixteen of 18 industries reported growth. Measures of deliveries and inventories decreased.

The Wall Street Journal Concludes on a hopeful note:
“The better-than-expected data are likely to further ease economists’ worries about a slowdown in growth in 2019, as the manufacturing sector is highly cyclical and is seen as a bellwether for trends in the economic cycle. Financial markets rallied Monday after the Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index rose more than expected in March, to 55.3 from 54.2 in February, indicating expansion.” As I wrote yesterday, the NAM’s Moutray is also cautiously optimistic about this year, explaining to manufacturers that the big picture is more stable than the daily dose of mixed messages makes it seem"

The Chief Economist at Moody's Analytics said:
"Businesses are hiring cautiously as the economy is struggling with fading fiscal stimulus, the trade uncertainty, and the lagged impact of Fed tightening. If employment growth weakens much further, unemployment will begin to rise." All of the gains came from services, which increased 135,000, while goods-producing industries lost 6,000 positions. A decline of 6,000 in construction and 2,000 in manufacturing was offset a bit by a 2,000-job increase in natural resources and mining.
News From Smith Hill
The Medicaid legislation that anticipates a $15 million revenue generate is causing anxiety for many of the staffing agencies. One company in particular is facing $500,000 to $750,000 fee. RIMA wants to be part of a solution and we have submitted a plan to possibly revamp how Medicaid costing is handled. The cost impact will put companies out of business. Massachusetts is currently assessing fees but ending this as of 12-2019. Rhode Island would stand alone as the only state doing a Medicaid assessment.  
Marijuana in the workplace which is estimated to garner $8 million in revenue is under scrutiny. The Boston Globe reported on March 20 (“So far, legalizing marijuana isn’t paying off in Mass.”) that the gold rush to tax revenues has gotten off to a slow start during the three months since pot stores began selling recreational marijuana. The state projected it would raise $63 million through marijuana taxes by June 30. But it is far behind that goal, having raised only $5.9 million as of March. Sales have been crimped by the fact Massachusetts sanctioned only nine retailers to open. With more stores opening, sales and tax revenues should ramp up. More disturbingly, some may not be buying the legal product because government-sanctioned marijuana is simply too expensive. With its sizeable markup for taxes and regulation, pot in the stores is evidently far pricier than the cannabis still found on the streets. Legalization may encourage driving while impaired. Colorado, for instance, which legalized marijuana several years ago, has experienced a disturbing rise in drugged driving deaths.
Service Tax : At a recent meeting of manufacturers who use outside services for landscape, cleaning services and pest control, RIMA explained the intent in the budget to tax these services for the first time. Most companies were unaware of this tax now in the proposed budget. We will be monitoring and keeping you abreast of the status of this new tax.
Wage Fairness Act H-5971:  This legislation is a hybrid of last year’s and this year’s Pay Equity Bill that failed in last year’s session. This bill would prohibit asking a job seeker their current wage and also prevents employers from telling their employees that they cannot discuss wages between each other. RIMA feels that it is not an issue regarding asking a job seeker his current wage as we have a position to fill and we know what we can pay for this job slot. In addition, several manufacturing associations provide wage data for specific positions that cover the New England Sector. As far as employee’s discussing their pay, in 31 years I was never able to prevent employees talking about their wages. This is probably the best that I have seen regarding pay issues in the last two years.
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