Due to the pandemic, Rhode Island’s unemployment insurance trust fund has “decreased significantly,” which will lead to employers having to dip into their coffers to pay more in taxes, according to the R.I. Department of Labor and Training. DLT spokesperson Margaux Fontaine on Friday could not immediately say how much the average increase will be. She said the UI trust fund decreased from $524.2 million in March, when the COVID-19 pandemic began, to $191 million on Dec. 11. See below link for full article.
- There were 525,000 manufacturing job openings in October, up from 492,000 in September and a new record high. Manufacturers are clearly ramping back up, rebounding from springtime weaknesses. In the larger economy, nonfarm business job openings increased from 6,494,000 in September to 6,652,000 in October, a three-month high.
- One sign of improved health is the “churn” seen in the labor market, and the number of quits has rebounded in recent months, a reassuring sign that the labor market is strengthening.
- With that said, initial unemployment claims rose to 853,000 for the week ending Dec. 5, the highest level since the week ending Sept. 19. This suggests that the continued spread of COVID-19, along with new restrictions, has resulted in an increased pace of Americans filing for first-time unemployment insurance benefits. Indeed, data from other sources also suggest that the pace of job openings slowed in late November.
- The Small Business Optimism Index declined from 104.0 in October to 101.4 in November, with owners continuing to worry about short-term political and COVID-19 uncertainties. Indeed, the net percentage expecting business conditions to improve dropped to the lowest level since March. Despite some slippage in confidence, the headline index continued to reflect overall strength, with workforce challenges topping the “single most important problem” list once again.
Manufacturing job openings increased from September to October, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The manufacturing outlook: There were 525,000 manufacturing job openings in October, up from 492,000 in September and a new record high. Postings for durable (up from 267,000 to 290,000-the best since August 2019) and nondurable goods (up from 225,000 to 235,000-an all-time high) both strengthened in October.
More numbers: In the larger economy, nonfarm business job openings increased from 6,494,000 in September to 6,652,000 in October, a three-month high. Overall, 11,061,000 Americans were unemployed in October, down from 12,580,000 in September. That translates to 1.66 unemployed workers for every one job opening in October, down from 1.94 in September. For comparison, that figure was 4.62 in April, but just 0.83 in February.
The takeaway: According to NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray, “One sign of improved health is the ‘churn’ seen in the labor market, and the number of quits has rebounded in recent months. This is reassuring and a sign that the market is strengthening.”
Per Steve Ilmrud of Hexagon…
“Initially, there was some belief [among employees] that the old way was better,” Ilmrud said. “But we quickly found that the system was providing us with input or direction that, while contrary to what we could have done, was really improving our efficiency and accuracy.” Rather than work on one machine at a time, and halt production if a part got damaged, for example, the system suggested assembling multiple machines at once to improve productivity even if problems arose with one. Collecting data throughout the process enabled workers to identify potential inaccuracies in time for them to be remedied, rather than waiting until the machines were fully assembled. “To wait until the end of the process and inspect if it’s good or bad is simply too late,” Ilmrud said.
Information compliment of PBN
Rohan Persaud, plant manager and executive director at Amgen Rhode Island. Amgen is also a RIMA member and Mr. Persaud is part of RIMA’s Advisory Council.
The 120,000-square-foot structure had been mostly constructed in Shanghai, then dissembled, placed on cargo ships and sent to Rhode Island. Final destination? The Amgen Rhode Island campus in West Greenwich. More than a year later and amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the $200 million biomanufacturing plant – the first of its kind in the United States – is complete, nearly ready to add to the capabilities of Amgen’s West Greenwich location, where the multinational biopharmaceutical company produces the popular arthritis drug Enbrel and other “biologic” medications.
Amgen has said it will hire about 150 people to staff the new plant, adding to the approximately 675 employees who already work at the West Greenwich campus. And the new jobs will pay well, offering a median annual salary of $77,000, according to state data. Amgen says the Rhode Island facility is now one of the world’s largest producers of biologic medicines, which are made from substances found in living things such as mammalian protein instead of chemically synthesized like conventional drugs. The new plant would produce biologic products, some of which already would be approved for use, while others would be in the approval pipeline.
We are pleased to announce the 2021 Small Business Economic Summit: “The Rhode Forward.” Like so many things over the past nine months, COVID-19 has forced us to go virtual for this year’s summit. However, this shift will allow us to break up committee discussions across multiple days, and allow you to attend and participate in as many of the discussions as you would like! Below is a listing of the dates and times for each individual committee meeting. Each meeting will afford you the opportunity to hear about and bring up topics, issues, and concerns pertinent to small business in the state. The discussions held, ideas shared, and information gathered will be presented at a wrap-up session that will be held on Friday, January 29, 2021. The wrap-up session will give a summary of all that was covered in each committee’s meeting and will be presented to the state’s elected officials.
Click the name of the committee below to register for that committee’s session. Registration information for the January 29th wrap-up session will be made available early in January. If you have any questions, please email them to RhodeIsland_DO@sba.gov
Committee Meeting Dates & Times
Monday, January 4th, 3:30-5:30pm: Emerging Markets Committee
Tuesday, January 5th, 1:00-3:00pm: Main Street Committee
Wednesday, January 6th, 1:00-3:00pm: Tax & Budget Committee
Thursday, January 7th, 1:00-3:00pm: Economic Development Committee
Thursday, January 7th, 3:30-5:30pm: Regulations Committee
Friday, January 8th, 9:00-11:00am: Workforce Development Committee
Friday, January 8th, 1:00-3:00pm: Healthcare Committee
The two documents below outline the ways COVID-19 has affected business for manufacturing and B2B buying.
The Internal Revenue Service affirms state policy that lets certain types of small businesses deduct state and local taxes from their income. The 2019 Rhode Island legislation, sponsored by R.I. House of Representatives Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi, D-Warwick, was intended as a workaround to help small-business owners who would otherwise be hurt by the $10,000 cap on state and local tax deductions enacted under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in 2017. The legislation applies specifically to pass-through entities including LLCs, S corporations, sole proprietors and partnerships that would otherwise face higher federal tax liabilities under the SALT cap deduction on federal taxes.
DLT’s Real Jobs Rhode Island program has partnered with the Business Network for Offshore Wind to provide a virtual learning course for Rhode Island-based businesses and entrepreneurial individuals interested in expanding into the offshore wind industry. The Foundation 2 Blade (F2B) industry training program is a three-part virtual training that helps companies identify where they fit into the growing offshore wind supply chain, from parts manufacturing, transportation, installation, maintenance, and more. The six modules demystify the supply chain, spur innovation, and present a path for market entry. The December training is sponsored and paid for by Real Jobs Rhode Island for Rhode Island-based businesses.
The free (Yes! FREE! A $2,500 value!) classes will take place virtually December 9, 11, and 16 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. EST. Real Jobs Rhode Island F2B attendees will receive 12 hours of instruction, a F2B training manual, PDF classroom handouts, and access to supplemental educational videos. Spots are limited so make sure to reserve your spot today! You can sign up here.
Industrial output increased in October according to MarketWatch.
More on manufacturing: NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray has some more data points:
“Overall, manufacturing production remained 4.8% below the pre-pandemic pace in February, with output in the sector continuing to rebound following the 20.1% decline experienced between February and April due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”“Manufacturing capacity utilization increased from 71.0% in September to 71.7% in October. This represents tremendous progress from the 60.1% rate in April, the lowest in the data’s history, which dates to January 1948. For comparison purposes relative to before the pandemic, it registered 75.2% in February.”
What it means: Manufacturing has been a driver of the economic recovery, and that growth appears to continue. Still, companies remain concerned about rising COVID-19 rates across the country, which could impact production and demand in the months ahead.