News and Analysis
Late Thursday evening, Aug. 6, it was reported that Gov. Mike DeWine does not have COVID-19 after he was given a second, more sensitive test at The Ohio State University’s Wexner Medical Center.
Earlier in the day, the governor had tested positive as part of the testing protocol required to greet President Donald Trump, who was in Ohio to tour Whirlpool Corp.’s plant in Clyde. The earlier test was an antigen test — new technology that delivers quick results, but is viewed as less accurate.
The governor said he has confidence in the results of the second test — called a PCR test — which looks for the genetic material specific to the virus that causes COVID-19. The governor and first lady will take additional PCR tests on Saturday, Aug. 8, and the results will be made public.
The governor said he would work with the manufacturer of the antigen test “to have a better understanding of how the discrepancy between these two tests could have occurred.” 8/6/2020
One of the biggest uncertainties facing manufacturers — in Ohio and across the country — is the lingering threat of COVID-19-related lawsuits. This week, OMA President Eric Burkland and National Association of Manufacturers Senior Vice President and General Counsel Linda Kelly teamed up in an editorial to address the need for federal and state liability protection.
Burkland and Kelly wrote: “Right now, manufacturers that have been doing the right thing all along to protect their employees and produce needed goods are being targeted by trial lawyers. … Without action by leaders in Washington — including Ohio’s elected representatives — and at the Statehouse in Columbus, frivolous litigation could undermine our manufacturing base and disrupt the production of food, medicine, and other essentials.” 8/5/2020
The OMA has joined forces with 50 other state organizations by sending a letter to newly elected Ohio House Speaker Bob Cupp, urging him to prioritize legislation that would provide legal liability protections for employers and others.
The Ohio Senate completed action on two different legislative vehicles in June. But now the House must act in order for businesses to have targeted protection from frivolous lawsuits. 8/6/2020
Ohio’s manufacturing employment has experienced a modest recovery since April, a month in which the Buckeye State lost roughly 95,000 manufacturing jobs. Federal data show Ohio had approximately 658,000 manufacturing positions in June, up from 603,000 in April — but still well short of the 700,000 manufacturing jobs that existed in February. 8/4/2020
U.S. manufacturing expanded in July at the fastest pace since March 2019. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported this week that its manufacturing gauge increased to 54.2 last month from 52.6. (Readings above 50 indicating expansion.) The ISM said “sentiment was generally optimistic” among manufacturers.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Commerce Department said new orders for U.S.-made goods moved higher for the second consecutive month in June, increasing 6.2%. 8/4/2020
Business Facilities magazine last week published its 16th annual rankings report — and the Buckeye State fared well. Ohio captured nine top-10 spots, including:
- No. 2 in Automotive Manufacturing Strength
- No. 3 in Manufacturing Employment
- No. 3 in Foreign Direct Investment Capital Expenditures
- No. 6 in Opportunity Zones
- No. 7 in Gross Domestic Product
- No. 7 in Solar Power Jobs
- No. 9 in Aerospace
- No. 9 in Manufacturing Output Percentage
- No. 10 in Tech Jobs
Ohio metros also earned top-10 rankings:
- Toledo – No. 2 in Manufacturing (mid-sized MSAs)
- Dayton – No. 3 in Manufacturing
- Akron – No. 7 in Manufacturing
- Cincinnati – No. 7 in Corporate Headquarters
See the full report here. 8/3/2020
Even in the face of a pandemic, manufacturers can’t afford to put digital projects on hold. That’s the conclusion of OMA Connections Partner RSM in the firm’s new Manufacturing Digital Transformation Survey.
In the publication, RSM makes recommendations to manufacturers, including:
- Companies need to evaluate their infrastructure to determine whether they have the capacity to take advantage of newer technologies, and make upgrades as needed;
- For companies that have begun to integrate newer technologies, it may be time to start moving from pilot projects to more broad-based implementation; and
- Understand that digital transformation is an ongoing journey that continues to evolve.
RSM’s survey found 74% of respondents have a digital strategy, and 26% are developing one. 8/5/2020
The Ohio Development Services Agency will host a free webinar at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 20, to provide information about Japanese markets and the online, business-to-business matchmaking platform J-GoodTech, operated by SME SUPPORT JAPAN. If your company is interested in collaborating with Japanese companies, this webinar will explain how J-GoodTech can assist. 8/5/2020
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is seeking public comment on whether extensions (for up to 12 months) should be granted for particular products receiving exclusions from the 25% tariff on imports from China. These product exclusions are set to expire Oct. 2, 2020. For more details, read this update from OMA Connections Partner Thompson Hine. 8/3/2020
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has launched a new, seven-figure television and digital ad campaign aimed at potential rules to address drug pricing through International Price Indexing.
“As the nation continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, we should not be enacting policies that could potentially stifle pharmaceutical innovation,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. 8/4/2020