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Manufacturing Indexes Show Continued Growth; Higher Input Costs Could Present Speedbumps

February 5, 2021

The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) manufacturing index for January, released this week, showed that U.S. manufacturing continued its recovery last month. Meanwhile, the final January IHS Markit manufacturing survey recorded its highest reading since 2007. And the U.S. Commerce Department said this week new orders for U.S.-made goods rose more than expected in December and business spending on equipment was solid, indicating near-term strength in the manufacturing sector.

For a quick overview of key economic indicators in the U.S. manufacturing sector, check out graphs published by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis to examine manufacturing unemployment; average hourly earnings; average weekly hours; and real output.

It should be noted the ISM index showed that prices for raw materials and other inputs jumped to their highest levels in nearly 10 years, “strengthening expectations inflation will perk up this year,” according to Reuters. Record price increases were seen in aluminum, brass, copper, chemicals, steel, soy and corn products, petroleum-based products including plastics, transportation costs, electrical and electronic components, corrugate, wood and lumber products. 2/1/2021

House Announces Committee Assignments

February 5, 2021

Late Friday, Jan. 29, the Ohio House announced its list of committees and committee chairman for the 134th General Assembly. Hannah News Service has published this list of House committees, meeting times, and locations.

In the current session, there are 23 House committees and five House Finance subcommittees. The 134th General Assembly features a few new House committees, including Behavioral Health and Recovery Supports; Families, Aging and Human Services; Government Oversight; Infrastructure and Rural Development; and Technology and Innovation. 2/4/2021

Statute of Limitations Bill Zooms Through the Senate

February 5, 2021

This week, on a 32-0 vote, the Ohio Senate passed Senate Bill 13, legislation to reduce the statute of limitations for oral and written contracts. Under the bill, the statute of limitations for written contracts would be reduced from the current eight years to six; for oral contracts, it would be reduced from six years to four. The OMA is supportive of the proposed changes. The bill now awaits action from the Ohio House. 2/4/2021

Ohio’s Vaccination Plan: What We Know So Far

January 29, 2021

Ohio continues to distribute a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines to at-risk individuals — and manufacturers continue to ask when their employees will be eligible for vaccination shots. The short answer: Most of us will be forced to wait until at least early spring.

Here’s what we know right now:

  • Ohio is currently in Phase 1B of the state’s vaccine distribution plan. This phase is focused on Ohioans ages 65 and older, those with severe medical and developmental concerns, and K-12 school personnel. With more than two million people in this group, Phase 1B will take several months to complete. (Here are more details on Phase 1B, as well as locations of vaccine providers.)
  • The Ohio Department of Health says the vaccine distribution plan for future priority populations is still under development and will be shared publicly once finalized.
  • Based on Ohio’s draft plan, Phase 2 — as currently outlined — will include employees for essential businesses. It’s believed this group will contain most manufacturing employees. The OMA continues to advocate that the Phase 2 definition of “essential businesses” should be the same as the definition used last spring to keep the vast majority of manufacturers and their suppliers operating. It’s unclear when Phase 2 will begin due to the limited vaccine supplies.

OMA members are advised to keep in close contact with their local health district since these districts will play a key role in the vaccine distribution. Read the OMA’s regularly published COVID-19 updates (emailed to members) and visit the Ohio Department of Health’s vaccination program page, which includes an updated FAQ section. 1/28/2021

Portman Won’t Seek Re-Election; Husted Says He’ll Eventually Run for Governor

January 29, 2021

On Jan. 25, Ohio’s U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R) announced he will not seek re-election when his term expires in 2022. Increasing partisanship in D.C. and his desire to spend more time in Ohio were key factors in his decision.

While there has been much speculation regarding who may seek the open seat next year, one high ranking state official has already ruled it out. Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said he plans to “keep doing this job, run for re-election, and one day in the future … run for governor.” 1/25/2021

$565M Investment Will Spur Cleveland Innovation District, Opportunity for Health Care Manufacturers

January 29, 2021

This week, Ohio officials announced a public-private investment of $565 million to create the Cleveland Innovation District. The project aims to make the Buckeye State a global leader in health care — including in pathogen and virus research — while creating 20,000 jobs over the next decade and adding $3 billion to the economy. The news is not only positive for Northeast Ohio, it’s also promising for Ohio’s health care manufacturers and technology supply chain. 1/25/2021

Biden Signs ‘Buy American’ Order for Government Purchases

January 29, 2021

This week, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to boost “Buy American” provisions that the White House says will encourage the federal government to purchase more goods and services from U.S. companies. Here are the president’s remarks.

According to reports, the new order will make it harder for federal agencies to purchase imported products by revising the definition of American-made products and raising local-content requirements, while ensuring that small and mid-size businesses have better information to bid on government contracts. Federal agencies are encouraged to partner with Manufacturing Extension Partnerships (MEPs) “to conduct supplier scouting in order to identify American companies … that are able to produce goods, products, and materials in the U.S. that meet federal procurement needs.”

Meanwhile, IndustryWeek has published this summary of five of President Biden’s early orders that have implications for U.S. manufacturers. 1/26/2021

Ohio Manufacturers Share Their Pandemic Responses During MEP Roundtable

January 29, 2021

The Ohio Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) this week conducted its latest installment in a series of virtual roundtable discussions featuring manufacturers from around the state. Moderated by OMA President Ryan Augsburger, manufacturing leaders shared the steps they have taken over the past year to respond to challenges posed by COVID-19. Watch the recorded roundtable discussion. 1/28/2021

New Regulatory Reform Bill Receives First Hearing

January 29, 2021

This week in the Ohio Senate, the Government Oversight and Reform Committee heard sponsor testimony on Senate Bill 9. The bill contains several provisions aimed at reducing the number of regulations in the Ohio Administrative Code.

The bill would require state agencies to reduce regulatory restrictions by 30% by June 2025, while prohibiting agencies from increasing the percentage of restrictions within their rules. It would allow agencies to come before the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review (JCARR) to lessen the required reduction if they could demonstrate why they cannot meet the threshold within SB 9.

The OMA will be closely monitoring this bill. Contact Rob Brundrett with questions. 1/28/2021

New Statute of Limitations Bill Begins Its Legislative Journey

January 29, 2021

This week, the Senate Judiciary Committee received testimony on Senate Bill 13, introduced by Sen. George Lang (R-West Chester). A re-introduction of legislation that stalled at the end of the last General Assembly, SB 13 would reduce the statute of limitations for oral and written contracts. Under the bill, the statute of limitations for written contracts would be reduced from the current eight years to six; for oral contracts, it would be reduced from six years to four.

In its proponent testimony, the OMA wrote: “The bill provides greater predictability and certainty for businesses and would benefit Ohio’s business climate for manufacturing.”

The OMA also provided proponent testimony through the Ohio Alliance for Civil Justice, of which the OMA is a member. The committee is expected to quickly advance the measure to the full Senate. 1/28/2021