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By Dusty J. Cruise
Missouri Enterprise President and CEO

It would be disingenuous of us to say manufacturers have nothing to worry about. In the current climate with all the ups and downs happening across the country and across the globe, it’s hard to keep up and nearly impossible to find stability (unless you have a magic 8 ball that works). Despite the uncertainties and unknowns, the most recent numbers we have access to tell a different story or at the very least, provide a hopeful outlook.

First and foremost, we would like to thank Wentzville-based Unitherm Furnace and Strafford-based American Products for contributing to a successful trip to Washington D.C. last month for the 2018 American Small Manufacturers Coalition Hill Day. Over the course of two days, these Missouri companies met with our state’s congressional leaders and shared insights about the challenges they face and into how Missouri Enterprise helped them improve efficiency and become more profitable. Both manufacturers have grown in terms of expanding their business/products/facilities or hiring new employees (or both!) since working with our team of experts.

Secondly, our manufacturers are expected to benefit from the federal Tax Cut and Jobs Act which was passed and signed at the end of 2017. It includes a 20 percent deduction for all pass-through businesses (Note: almost two-thirds of manufacturers are organized as pass-through entities), a lower corporate tax rate which dropped from 35 to 21 percent, and the elimination of the alternative minimum corporate tax rate. While in D.C., our accompanying manufacturers shared their satisfaction of the tax reform with our state representatives.

Thirdly, the state issued the February jobs report last month, which showed steady growth in manufacturing employment. Over the month, the industry added 900 new positions and over the year, employment in manufacturing grew by 5,700. This is a great indication that the economy has rebounded as manufacturing is one of the state’s top industries and is responsible for 12 percent of Missouri’s GDP.

Our last set of figures are ones we are most proud of as they reflect companies we assisted that engaged with our hard-working team at Missouri Enterprise. We just received our fourth quarter estimated impact figures based on the surveys completed by the dozens of companies we served in that time frame. Because of our assistance, these companies created/retained 948 new jobs, project to invest more than $25.1 million into their Missouri facilities, and expect to experience a total cost savings of more than $16.3 million.

And the number I find so impressive is the $57.9 million in projected new/retained sales, which is a significant sum of money making a big difference for our small and medium-sized manufacturers.

No, we don’t have a magic manufacturing 8 ball, and we cannot predict the future or even what is going to happen or be tweeted about tomorrow, but we do know our Missouri manufacturers will continue to do what they do best--- make products that the world wants. And that’s what we’re all about at Missouri Enterprise - we’re here to help Missouri manufacturers succeed and be their very best.