What’s Going On In Canton, Mississippi?

By | Shopfloor Main, Shopfloor Policy | No Comments

Manufacturing workers at the Nissan plant in Canton, Mississippi, enjoy some of the highest wages, best benefits and most stable jobs in the state. Nissan gives back to the community—donating more than $13.6 million to local charities—and their investment in the facility has strengthened the city and state.

Now, outside interests want to disrupt this positive work environment and community relationship. The United Auto Workers (UAW) is pushing for dramatic changes at the plant—encouraging workers to cast votes on unionization without any real benefit and many downsides.

The NAM’s partner organization in Mississippi, the Mississippi Manufacturers Association, lays out the details here. The future of manufacturing workers in Canton could be negatively impacted by the UAW’s actions. Everyone involved, especially the local community, should be concerned. If something isn’t broken, why is an outside group trying to fix it?

Women in Manufacturing: Confidence, Partnership, and the Power of Perseverance

By | General, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

By Aneesa Muthana, President and Owner of Pioneer Service, Inc.

It’s been said women have an uphill battle in this industry. That they need to work harder for less money, that the machining industry treats women unfairly.

I had it easy.

I had mentors – supportive parents that kick started my interest in their trade and acted as role models. Father taught his trade to myself as well as my brothers. I watched my mother, who had no education and couldn’t speak English, find a job as a factory worker. Her work ethic won her respect, and she received raises without even asking for them.

As I grew older, my father preferred me in the front office, but I wouldn’t leave the shop. As a compromise, after I finished my daily office work, I could return to the machines. Dad knew this was the best deal he would get, so he put a speaker in the shop, and soon I was hurdling over bundles of metal to answer the phone.

So when people ask me how I was able to succeed as an outsider –  a woman in manufacturing – it’s because I watched my mother defy convention not with words, but with work(wo)manship. When Dad, who I love dearly, tried to move me into a more traditional woman’s role, I chose compromise over defiance. Was it unfair? Probably. But if my mother could earn her coworkers’ confidence with nothing but sweat and quality, then I knew I was capable of doing the same.

Spoiler alert: the world is unfair. Fate does not discriminate. It does, however, reward tenacity.

The problem with the “oppressive male regime” narrative is twofold. First, it creates an adversarial relationship that gets in the way of partnership. Second, it makes women into victims, reinforcing the sentiment they are doomed to fail.

I mentor women in manufacturing not because they’re oppressed – many men are onboard with women in the workplace – but because the main ingredient in success is confidence and some women still lack it. Victimhood erodes confidence.

As a young woman of 23, fate came for me in the form of divorce. My uncle threw me a lifeline, offering me a position in his new small machining company. I was practiced in my field and had already spent years managing other businesses, so instead I offered to share leadership of Pioneer Service. He agreed. Not because I was a woman, not because I was his blood, but because I had already proven capable and I was eager to prove myself.

Almost 25 years later, I am President and owner. I owe it to my parents and my uncle, who showed me that men are not the enemy. Treat them like an enemy, and they will respond like one. Show them what you can do instead, and most men – most people – are smart enough to see you as an asset.

Fate owes you nothing. Earn your place and let the results speak for themselves – the world will take notice.

Manufacturing Investment Creates New Detroit Auto Jobs

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Detroit is synonymous with manufacturing. America’s manufacturers built the city. For over a century, manufacturers’ factories have produced the cars which move the world and the jobs that drive Detroit. Their investment made Detroit the Motor City.

Now a new manufacturer is investing in Detroit.

Since 2012, Mahindra Detroit-based North American Technical Centre has employed 120 expert engineers. Leveraging American ingenuity, the $19 billion manufacturing company has been driving innovation there. From Mahindra’s Detroit enterprises came a cutting-edge minivan design, $2.5 billion in revenue and 3,000 American manufacturing jobs.

Now the company is doubling down on Detroit. On July 17th, Mahindra announced a new $1.5 billion investment. It promises $2.5 million more revenue. And that means more rewarding, well-paying jobs for American workers. The project’s centerpiece is a new factory. In it, 3,000 Detroit manufacturing workers will build off-road utility vehicles, targeting a key segment of the auto market.

In a CNBC interview, Chairman Anand Mahindra said his business values “the best talent in the world.” That’s what he found in Detroit. And that’s why he rewarded its workers with good jobs, solid wages and greater investment.

Mahinda continues the Motor City tradition: employing great people to manufacture great products.

Richmond Fed: Manufacturing Activity Expanded More Strongly in July

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The Richmond Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity in its district expanded more strongly in July, with activity accelerating to a 3-month high. The composite index of general business activity rose from 11 in June to 14 in July. (Note that these data have been revised from the prior release to reflect a new seasonal adjustment.) The sector has now expanded for 10 straight months – a sign that conditions have improved from more lackluster activity prior to that. Year-to-date, the headline index has averaged 13.3 so far in 2017, up from 2.1 in the same time period in 2016. In July, manufacturers in the mid-Atlantic region noted monthly pickups in new orders (up from 14 to 18), employment (up from 5 to 10), the average workweek (up from 1 to 9) and wages (up from 10 to 17), with shipments growth unchanged (13). The backlog of orders (up from -4 to 11) increased for the first time since April. Read More

Conference Board: Consumer Assessments of Current Economic Conditions at a 16-Year High

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The Conference Board said that consumer sentiment rebounded in July after a springtime lull. The Consumer Confidence Index increased from 117.3 in June to 121.1 in July, which was not far from March’s 16-year high (124.9). To illustrate the jump in sentiment, the headline index has averaged 118.3 year-to-date in 2017, up from an average of 95.6 in the same seven-month time period in 2016. In this report, the improvement in perceptions stemmed from a better assessments of both current (up from 143.9 to 147.8) and future (up from 99.6 to 103.3) conditions. The measure for the current economic environment rose to a level not seen since July 2001. Overall, more consumers said business conditions were “good,” up from 30.6 percent to 33.3 percent, with 13.5 percent citing “bad” conditions, which was unchanged. Read More

Markit: Eurozone Manufacturing Slipped a bit from a 6-Year High in July; U.S. Growth Picked Up

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After soaring to new multiyear highs in each of the last few reports, the IHS Markit Flash Eurozone Manufacturing PMI declined from 57.4 in June, a level not seen since April 2011, to 56.8 in July, a three-month low. Despite the somewhat slower growth in this latest survey, the underlying trend remains positive, with European manufacturers continuing to expand at decent rates. New orders (down from 58.7 to 57.1) and output (down from 58.7 to 56.9) decelerated in July but mostly reflected strong growth, with exports (unchanged at 57.4) and employment (up from 55.9 to 56.0) remaining promising. In a similar way, the future output index (down from 67.4 to 66.5) indicated healthy expectations for the next six months, albeit with some easing. The forward-looking index had been at its highest point since it was introduced in mid-2012 in June, and the current data is not far from that level. Read More

Manufacturing was the Largest Industrial Contributor to Real GDP in the First Quarter

By | Economy, Shopfloor Economics, Shopfloor Main | No Comments

Real GDP grew 1.4 percent in the first quarter, pulled lower by weak inventory spending and softer-than-desired consumer spending. At the same time, business investment was a bright spot in the report, and, according to new data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, so was manufacturing. Real value added output rebounded in the first quarter, up 4.7 percent after falling by 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter. As a result, manufacturers contributed 0.54 percentage points to headline growth in the first quarter, a notable improvement from the 0.39 percentage point drag seen in the fourth quarter. Indeed, it was the largest industrial contributor to real GDP growth in the release. Read More

Senate Taxwriters Advance Nomination of Top Treasury Tax Official

By | Shopfloor Policy, Taxation | No Comments

The Senate Finance Committee today approved the nomination of tax expert David Kautter to be Assistant Treasury Secretary for Tax Policy, clearing the way for Senate confirmation of the nominee to a post where he will play a key role the tax reform debate.

Over the past months, tax reform meetings between the House, Senate and Administration have heated up and having Kautter in place at Treasury will bring additional technical expertise to these discussions and hopefully help speed up the process. As a liaison to the IRS, he also will major role in the current effort underway to repeal or rewrite a number of tax rules issued during the last administration.

Kautter, whose nomination was put forth by President Trump in May, is extremely well qualified for the job. He currently serves as partner-in-charge of RSM’s Washington National Tax practice. Earlier in his career, he was managing director of the Kogod Tax Center and executive-in-residence at the Kogod School of Business at American University. Before holding this position, he spent more than 30 years at Ernst and Young, serving as director of national tax for more than 13 years.

Advancing pro-growth tax reform and rolling back anti-manufacturing tax regulation are two top priorities for the NAM and time is running out on both. Having Dave Kautter in place as the Assistant Treasury Secretary for Tax Policy will be key to advancing these two initiatives. We strongly urge the Senate to confirm his nomination ASAP.

Philly Fed: Manufacturing Continued to Expand Strongly in July

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The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia said that manufacturing activity continued to expand strongly in July. With that said, the composite index of general business activity decreased from 27.6 in June to 19.5 in July. Even with some easing for the second straight month, the headline index has averaged 29.7 year-to-date, illustrating the much-improved performance so far in 2017. The composite measure peaked at 43.3 in February, its best reading since November 1983. In July, manufacturers reported positive growth across-the-board, but many of the underlying data points decelerated. This included new orders (down from 25.9 to 2.1), shipments (down from 28.5 to 12.2), employment (down from 16.1 to 10.9) and the average workweek (down from 20.5 to 3.8). To illustrate the slower growth in this survey, the percentage of respondents saying that orders had increased in the month dropped from 44.8 percent in June to 30.5 percent in July, with those suggesting a decrease rising from 18.9 percent to 28.4 percent. Read More

Manufacturers Say The President is Getting it Right on Regulations

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President Trump and Congress are tackling regulations like we haven’t seen in generations, bringing expansion, hiring and more investment opportunities for Manufacturers.

According to the NAM Manufacturers’ Outlook survey, 80 percent of manufacturers say the president’s actions on regulations are headed in the right direction, with more than half of respondents saying those actions will allow them to expand operations, increase investment and add more workers.

Manufacturers’ record-high optimism reported in the first quarter has carried into the second quarter of this year, marking the highest two-quarter average (91.4 percent) for manufacturing optimism in the survey’s 20-year history. In addition, 89.5 percent of respondents report a positive outlook for their company.

Read the Full Report Here