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CPBJ Extra Blog

Is our manufacturing climate as good as Mexico's?

By - Last modified: May 3, 2013 at 10:04 AM
Jim T. Ryan
Jim T. Ryan

Now that I have your attention, I can say that my eyebrows raised significantly when I saw that we were being compared to our southern neighbor in the area of manufacturing cost competitiveness.

Essentially, the Materials Handling Institute or MHI, a logistics and supply chain trade group, posted the results of a recent survey on its website in which companies considering nearshoring were asked which countries they would prefer to locate production.

Thirty-seven percent of companies said they would choose the U.S. for nearshoring, the same amount that would choose Mexico, which is a significant change from two years ago when 63 percent said Mexico and just 19 percent said the U.S., according to the Manufacturing Sourcing Outlook by AlixPartners, a research firm. Give it a read yourself and let me know in the comment section what you think.

OK, this next story is weird. Did you ever think a "butt-dial" (my words) on a cellphone would lead to a business being sued for wrongful termination of an employee? Who knew, right? Well, check out this story in the New York Times about just that and the cautionary tale for small businesses who worry about being sued.

Flying down to Florida last month for vacation, I was reading National Geographic magazine. This story about the Peruvian mahogany trade and illegal cutting associated with it was really interesting, especially looking at the profit margins between the various logistical levels of the trade, and what that means to the rainforest as well as the local communities.

The Society for Human Resource Managementis predicting that services and manufacturing hiring will pick up this month. Manufacturing hiring could increase 2.4 percent, while recruiting difficulty edges down 3.5 percent and new-hire pay increases 0.3 percent, SHRM said.

Uh ... there are a lot of factors determining compensation for a new employee, from experience to company revenue numbers. But let's be honest, one of those above numbers is not like the others. Why so low? What are the factors? Email me. I'd like to discuss more.

It will be interesting to see how the sector performs and how that changes everything from the pace of hiring to the compensation. If the pace of manufacturing is picking up around the country, I would start wondering when we'd see greater hiring in the sector here in Pennsylvania.

Manufacturing jobs have been mostly flat so far this year, according to state statistics. Why aren't local companies hiring?

Jim T. Ryan covers Cumberland County, manufacturing, transportation and workforce issues. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at You can also follow him on Twitter, @JimTRyanCPBJ.

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