Viewing blog posts written by Gino DiCaro

Costs and font size shut down a small CA manufacturer

Posted by Gino DiCaro, Vice President, Communications on Nov. 20, 2015

More than 50 percent of California's manufacturers are small, with 10 employees or less. Small manufacturers are the pride of their communities, deeply valued for their economic support, for their job and advancement opportunities, and often for their innovation in creating specific niche products.

This is a story of a small manufacturer in Chico with 15 employees that is closing its doors after 40 years. CMTA met Woof & Poof's owner, Roger Hart, this year at a North State "Grow Manufacturing" event. As usual with small manufacturers we first heard about their deep concern for their employees who had worked there so long. We then heard about the company's arduous efforts to stay open because of a totality of California costs and an ongoing struggle with the state regarding tag font size on their decorative pillows.

This example should serve as one of many prompts for our state leaders to do everything they can to provide a competitve operating environment for manufacturers large and small. 

Here is the intro in the Chico News & Review and a link to their full article:

So long to a Chico institution

Woof & Poof owner announces décor manufacturer will be shutting its doors.

First it was the increase in employee health insurance costs. Then came the bump in California's minimum wage. Add in a seemingly nonsensical citation from the state's Department of Consumer Affairs and it became clear that the challenges were just too overwhelming for Woof & Poof, a 40-year-old Chico institution, to continue.

CEO and owner Roger Hart, his wife, Sabrina, and sister Linda Gonzalez took over ownership of Woof & Poof, which currently employs 15, 2 1/2 years ago after the passing of founder Jacki Headley in 2012. Headley started the business in 1975, and since then, Woof & Poof's stuffed Santas, decorative pillows and household décor have developed a fan-following with nationwide distribution in 600 stores ... READ FULL CHICO NEWS & REVIEW ARTICLE HERE

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'Must read' article for manufacturers

Posted by Gino DiCaro, Vice President, Communications on Nov. 16, 2015

The DailyBeast recently published a tremendously elucidating article by Joel Kotkin titled:  Are We Heading for An Economic Civil War?

The article outlines the onging tangible products vs. non-tangible products divide that is increasingly defining our national and state politics. Below is the introduction to the piece. You can and should read the FULL ARTICLE HERE. It's 'must read' material for manufacturers.

When we speak about the ever-expanding chasm that defines modern American politics, we usually focus on cultural issues such as gay marriage, race, or religion. But as often has been the case throughout our history, the biggest source of division may be largely economic.

Today we see a growing conflict between the economy that produces consumable, tangible goods and another economy, now ascendant, that deals largely in the intangible world of media, software, and entertainment. Like the old divide between the agrarian South and the industrial North before the Civil War, this threatens to become what President Lincoln’s Secretary of State, William Seward, defined as an “irrepressible conflict.”

Other major economic divides—between capital and labor, Wall Street versus Main Street—defined politics for much of the 20th century. But today’s tangible-intangible divide is particularly tragic because it undermines America’s peculiar advantage in being a powerhouse in both the material and non-material worlds. No other large country can say that, certainly not China, Japan, or Germany, industrial powerhouses short on resources, while our closest cousins, such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, remain, for the most part, dependent on commodity trade. 

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Western states should take advantage of increased U.S. MFG construction spending

Posted by Gino DiCaro, Vice President, Communications on Oct. 22, 2015

There was an astounding statistic in the National Association of Manufacturers' (NAM) quarterly economic report this week. Among the predicted remarks about a strong dollar and the country's recent temporary slowing in manufacturing growth, out came a promising trend of increased manufacturing construction spending.

In January 2011 the country had approximately $30 billion in ongoing manufacturing construction projects, according to NAM. That number steadily increased to just over $90 billion in September 2015. That's a whopping 200 percent increase in the average monthly value of spending in four years. This is good news for the country and could potentially be great for California, assuming we are attracting a proportionate share.

NAM's economist, Dr. Chad Moutray, pointed to the chemical manufacturing industry as a major reason for the steady spike with approximately 246 currently announced construction projects. Of course we don' know the location of those projects but eventual investment data at the end of the year might reveal a large portion of them.

To understand how California and our western region might be attracting its share we looked a little deeper into the spending data by region at the Census Bureau. From 2011 to 2014 (most recent annual number for regional data, so 2015 is not included) the western states declined in spending by 27 percent, while the South increased by 115 percent. Below is a look at all four regions. Given the numbers, we'll keep an eye on this data as more is revealed.




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Slight downtick in MFG jobs, along with U.S., but CA still lags the country

Posted by Gino DiCaro, Vice President, Communications on Oct. 16, 2015

There was a slight downtick in California manufacturing job growth in September, which tracked with the national numbers too. Still though, California lags the country since 2010 and the end of the recession. California is up 2.0 percent in manufacturing jobs while the U.S. is up 7.4 percent.


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Caterpillar CEO: pro growth policies and innovation will lead the MFG renaissance

Posted by Gino DiCaro, Vice President, Communications on Sept. 24, 2015

Caterpillar CEO, Doug Oberhelman, along with Honeywell CEO, Dave Cote, commented last week on CNBC's Squawk Box on the potential for a U.S. manufacturing renaissance.

At the core of their comments, were two drivers -- the tremendous innovation within their companies, like Caterpillar machines being interconnected by computers, and the pro-growth policies necessary to compete and win, like re-authorization of the U.S. Export-Import bank

California's own manufacturing sector boasts so much of the country's cutting edge innovation in R&D that it could translate into manufacturing for our middle class to lead the national manufacturing "scale-up". But like national policies, we need to make sure our state programs are inline with the competitive needs of our manufacturing base -- cost effective energy policies, flexible work laws, workforce training initiatives, more regulatory certainty, etc.  

With only two percent of the country's manufacturing investments last year, we have work to do. A powerful message of manufacturing growth is likely taking over the country, and now California needs to ensure its rightful place in that resurgence for its own economy.

Manufacturing executives in California should also follow the lead of CEO's like Oberhelman and Cote. If we see more of these public interviews and speeches from California manufacturing executives we can help give state lawmakers the support they need to pass pro-growth policies.




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