President’s Letter: ‘It’s Been a Very Good Year’

September 7, 2017 No Comments
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Thank You For The Opportunity To Serve

by B Kyle

toc_departments50pxThis month’s update is my last. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to represent the MPMA for two years. In 2016, my focus was “The Power of One.” My theme for 2017 has been “A Seat at the Table.” We have made great strides in increasing the MPMA’s visibility on a state level, one conversation at a time. I am so proud!

I also look forward to welcoming Tom Chacon as your next president – as a seasoned manufacturer, his perspective will be invaluable. Let’s welcome him! I will continue to work on behalf of manufacturing, both in the MPMA and in my new role as the President and CEO of the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce.

A Pause to Celebrate Life

June 23, 2017, marked the passing of one of MPMA’s founding members, Dale Greenwald, at the age of 78. Dale devoted his life first to his family and second to Cass Screw Machine, where he started in 1957 as a janitor. He took over as president in 1995, when his brother Marvin retired, and retired himself in 2015. A two-term MPMA president and lifelong supporter of the organization, Dale’s enthusiasm – marked by his annual singing of the National Anthem at Golden Gloves – will be missed. Truly a life worth honoring and celebrating.

Moving Ahead with a new Executive Director

In July, the Board’s Recruitment Taskforce completed its interview process and the Board has selected a new executive director. Amy Walstien speaks with both authority and familiarity about the issues of importance to the MPMA: growing membership, elevating our presence as the voice of manufacturing, and addressing workforce development. Of course, you remember she worked as our lobbyist to spearhead the MPMA’s successful bid to get the Youth Skills Training Program bill passed in the 2017 Legislative session.

IN THE ECONOMY

  • U.S. Labor Market Update, April 2017:
    • U.S. – Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 222,000 in June. Unemployment is little changed at 4.4 percent.
    • Minnesota – employers added 4,400 jobs in June, erasing the smaller-than-first-reported 2,900 job cut in May. Of the new jobs, 2,200 were in manufacturing. Year-to-year growth is at 77,478 net new jobs. This marks the largest year-to-year change since May 1998. Minnesota unemployment held at its cycle-low of 3.7 percent.
  • According to Manufacturing ISM® Report on Business®, economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in June, and the overall economy grew for the 97th consecutive month. This is an increase of 2.9 percentage points from the May reading of 54.9 percent.
  • Extemporaneous comments from MPMA members generally reflect expanding business conditions, with new orders, production, employment, and backlogs all growing as the year progresses and supplier deliveries and inventories struggling to keep up with the production pace.
  • Interest rates:
    • The Federal Reserve raised interest rates by ¼ point in June. This is the third hike since December, an indication that the Central bank believes the U.S. economy is on solid ground.
    • The FOMC tracks inflation, with a “target” rate of 2 percent per year. Through May, the U.S. inflation rate had slowed to 1.7 percent, indicating that another rate hike may be delayed till the fall – though the Central bank still maintains the outlook for one more increase in 2017.
    • Interesting side note: the vote was 8-1, with Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari dissenting from a rate increase for the second time this year, preferring no change.
    • Policy makers also have issued forecasts showing another ¾ point rate increase in 2018.

See you in the trenches.pm_endmarkgrn-e1320337194716


B. Kyle is the Vice President of Strategic Development at Saint Paul Port Authority. She can be reached at blk@sppa.com.

Copyright © 2017 Minnesota Precision Manufacturing Association. For permission to use or reprint this article please contact Nancy Huddleston, publications manager for Precision Manufacturing Journal.

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