” U.S. manufacturing activity hovered at a near 4-1/2-year high in September and factory employment surged, supporting views of sturdy economic growth this quarter.”- Reuters
PMPA’s August Business Trends Report showed that for the month our industry took a bit of a breather, but sales and shipments remain up over 5% over 2013 levels.

A bit of a breather for precision machining.
A bit of a breather for precision machining.

Reuters also mentioned:

  • Markit said its preliminary or “flash” factory purchasing managers index came in at 57.9, unchanged from August when it touched its highest level since April 2010.
  • Factory jobs rose for a second straight month, Markit said, with a gauge of labor market conditions touching its highest level since March 2012.
  • New orders held steady above the 60 level for the third time in the past four months, indicating persistent demand for manufactured goods.
  • The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond said its regional manufacturing index increased this month, with factories citing a rise in new orders and shipments.

PMPA members continue to report strong sales, scheduled overtime, increasing lead times and very strong prospects for employment in our industry.
Manufacturing near a 4-1/2 year high?
We can agree with that.
Reuters article

The folks in Rhode Island are doing their part to make the availability of great careers in manufacturing known to students, teachers and counselors. Take a look at this list of MFG Day activities.

RI Mfg Week header Events (2) copy
Experience what happens when you add Art and Design to manufacturing on September 29th from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm at the RI School of Design. Join some of RI’s most innovative manufacturers and designers.
Learn about the Next Generation Manufacturing Study from John Brandt, founder of The MPI Group, on September 30th from 7:30-9:00 am at the Crowne Plaza Hotel (hosted by DiSanto Priest)
Showcase your products and career opportunities at our Manufacturing Career Awareness event at Quidnessett Country Club on October 1st from 3:30-7:00 pm.
Get an inside view of URI’s College of Engineering and learn more about the services they can provide to our local companies on October 2nd from 3:00-7:00 pm
Tour CCRI’s Integrated Manufacturing Center and meet with their staff to understand their manufacturing training capabilities on October 3rd from 1:00-4:00 pm.
The shortage of skilled employees is one of the most important challenges that we face in manufacturing today. It is good to see us address this challenge.
mfgday logo

There is a lot happening in Rhode Island to help spread the word to high school students about MFG Day and the great careers available in our advanced manufacturing precision machining shops.
Oct 1 WPS posterV2
We’ll be following up with more from Rhode Island in our next post!

Under the revised rule, employers will be required to notify OSHA of work-related fatalities within eight hours, and work-related in-patient hospitalizations, amputations or losses of an eye within 24 hours. Previously, OSHA’s regulations required an employer to report only work-related fatalities and in-patient hospitalizations of three or more employees.
Reporting single hospitalizations, amputations or loss of an eye was not required under the previous rule.

Goes into effect January 1, 2015.
Goes into effect January 1, 2015.

The final rule was announced by OSHA on September 11, 2014. The rule also updates the list of employers partially exempt from OSHA recordkeeping requirements.
This new final rule enters into effect Jan 1, 2015. Link here to prepublication text of final rule.
Until the date of publication, the Final Rule can be found at www.osha.gov/recordkeeping2014/NAICSReporting.pdf. After publication, the Final Rule can be accessed from www.osha.gov/recordkeeping2014 or through the Federal Register website at www.federalregister.gov.
In a final rule posted in the Federal Register on Sept. 11, OSHA has also updated the list of industries that, due to relatively low occupational injury and illness rates, are exempt from the requirement to routinely keep injury and illness records. The rule will go into effect Jan. 1, 2015 for workplaces under federal OSHA jurisdiction.
Regardless, all employers covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act, even those who are exempt from maintaining injury and illness records, are required to comply with OSHA’s new severe injury and illness reporting requirements.
OSHA’s web page on the revised rule.

You are a shop owner or key employee attending IMTS this year. Congratulations. Manufacturing is enjoying a strong “bull phase” right now and it is a great time to plan improvements to your shop’s capabilities and services.

To help keep your piece of North American Manufacturing competitive.
To help keep your piece of North American Manufacturing competitive.

  • Of course you want to see the latest technology to add to your shop’s capabilities.
  • Of course you want to see your preferred vendors face to face, and find some that might become preferred vendors some day too.
  • Of course you’d like to find a bargain or two, for machine shop owners and anyone in Fab metal manufacturing, IMTS is really our “Disneyworld (TM).”
  • Of course you would like to catch up on industry happenings, and find out the latest and greatest.
  • Of course you would like to get some of your most vexing process questions answered.

One more reason to go to IMTS?
To find the  technology that will help you keep manufacturing here in North America by allowing your employees to operate at their highest and best use. And your equipment to have more time “in the cut.”
Finding a piece of equipment  or accessory that can be operated by a less skilled operator but still create high value is what I am talking about. Finding ways to do work simultaneously or in parallel while the tool is cutting is another.
Are your highest skilled people loading and unloading, or are they adding value? Can the loading and unloading be performed by the equipment itself? Does the tool need that adjustment on the machine, or can you get more production up time  with off-machine presetting?
Have fun at “Disneyworld ™.” Hope to see you there.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released Manufacturing Productivity Numbers  for second quarter 2014 this morning:
“Manufacturing sector productivity increased 3.3 percent in the second quarter  of 2014, as output increased 6.9 percent and hours worked increased 3.5  percent. The increase in output was the largest since the second quarter of  2010 (11.6 percent). Productivity increased 3.4 percent in the durable goods  sector and increased 4.7 percent in the nondurable goods sector. Over the  last 4 quarters, manufacturing productivity increased 2.1 percent, as output  increased 3.7 percent and hours increased 1.6 percent. Unit labor costs in  manufacturing decreased 1.6 percent in the second quarter of 2014 and  increased 0.8 percent from the same quarter a year ago.” BLS release.
If you have been following our blog, this is probably not unexpected news for you.
 Kalkaska;  August Indicators Bullish on MFG

Manufacturing is a great place to work!
Manufacturing is a great place to work!

Precision machining companies make the high precision highly engineered components that make most manufactured products function.
In other news today seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment increased  to 302,000; the real U-6 unemployment rate is 12.6%.
Given that the Civilian workforce is 156,123,000 persons, this represents 19,671,498 persons unemployed.
If I was unemployed, wanted to work, and I saw the bullish numbers about manufacturing, I know what I would do.
Career benefits for Precision Machining
Career Training
Photo Credit: StealingFaith

Kevin Schlueter, President  of PMPA member company Kalkaska Screw Products, Inc.  (KSP) was featured on UpNorthLive, a news and information website covering Northern Michigan.

Great news for manufacturing in Northern Michigan according to KSP's Kevin Schlueter
Great news for manufacturing in Northern Michigan according to KSP’s Kevin Schlueter

Kalkaska Screw’s newsworthy subject- Manufacturing in Northern Michigan growing strongest in years.
“”There’s a lot of great manufacturing that’s taking place in this area,” Kevin Schlueter, Kalkaska Screw Products President & CEO, said. “Not just the Kalkaska area but the greater Traverse City area, there’s some amazing manufacturing going on.””
We know there is some amazing manufacturing going on at KSP- where they ship over 2.8 million high- tech, high-precision, often human safety critical parts- each month!  (Automotive Brake, Passenger Restraint, and Airbag parts among others!)
Kalkaska Screw Products has added almost 20 jobs this year and is looking to add 10 more. An Employee owned (ESOP) company, currently KSP has 91 employees- top employer in Kalkaska County.
“To add that many jobs and to help out the community is something we’re really proud of,” Schlueter said. “We need more employees. We ship about 2.8 million parts per month and so you need the right number of employees to get that work done.”
Yesterday, the ISM PMI report for August was released showing”the highest recorded New Orders Index since April 2004 when it registered 67.1 percent.”
Employment prospects for PMPA member shops remains High with 96% of responding companies expecting employment prospects to remain the same or increase over the next three months.
Thanks to Kalkaska Screw Products, Inc. President Kevin Schlueter for helping get the word out that Manufacturing is thriving and that we have great career opportunities in our shops for people “making things that make a difference.”
And thanks to UpNorthLive for the great story.

“The August PMI® is led by the highest recorded New Orders Index since April 2004 when it registered 67.1 percent. At the same time, comments from the panel reflect a positive outlook mixed with caution over global geopolitical unrest.”

Manufacturing is looking good according to the writing on the wall- and August ISM PMI.
Manufacturing is looking good according to the writing on the wall- and August ISM PMI.

The ISM PMI index for  Manufacturing in the United States has been a good leading indicator for US GDP. We like to calibrate our Precision Machining Industry’s performance against it as well.

Our July PMPA Business Trends Report showed that our industry outperformed several FED manufacturing indicators. Our July Sales  usually low because of summer shutdowns, vacations and retooling in Customer plants, were at the average for the Calendar year. today, ISM PMI shows that that positivity extending to August.

Today’s report from Institute for Supply Management showed the indicator rose 1.9 percent to 59 in August from 57.1 in July. This is a very optimistic reading, showing that the manufacturing economy expanded for the 15th consecutive month.


What does a bull sound like for prospects in manufacturing?

“This month’s PMI® reflects the highest reading since March 2011 when the index registered 59.1 percent. The New Orders Index registered 66.7 percent, an increase of 3.3 percentage points from the 63.4 percent reading in July, indicating growth in new orders for the 15th consecutive month. The Production Index registered 64.5 percent, 3.3 percentage points above the July reading of 61.2 percent. The Employment Index grew for the 14th consecutive month, registering 58.1 percent, a slight decrease of 0.1 percentage point below the July reading of 58.2 percent. Inventories of raw materials registered 52 percent, an increase of 3.5 percentage points from the July reading of 48.5 percent, indicating growth in inventories following one month of contraction. The August PMI® is led by the highest recorded New Orders Index since April 2004 when it registered 67.1 percent. At the same time, comments from the panel reflect a positive outlook mixed with caution over global geopolitical unrest.” -Bradley J Holcomb, Chair of the Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®) Manufacturing Business Survey Committee.

PMPA  Business Trends data for July has also painted a picture of stronger than seasonally expected performance. We can hardly wit to see how the PMI August Data compares to our industry performance.

Graph courtesy Calculated Risk Blog

Street art courtesy REDBOY at Street and Stage Blog