CIRAS DIGEST: Tuesday, March 22, 2016

  • ICYMI, there’s a new $240 million meat processing plant in the works for Mason City. According to the Mason City Globe Gazette, the new company will employee nearly 2,000 people “in the next few years whose average starting pay will be $30,000 to $35,000, depending on overtime.” [The Des Moines Register has since identified the  company as Prestage Farms of North Carolina.]
  • Sunday’s Register revealed that Iowa suspended inspections at egg processing facilities in the state nearly a year ago. Inspectors apparently were worried that people visiting one facility after another might spread bird flu.
  • Meanwhile, the Cedar Rapids Gazette has a guest column from a University of Northern Iowa anthropology professor arguing that, according to the numbers, “raising the minimum wage in Iowa makes sense.”
  • And, a state senator in Des Moines has a column in the Register touting the Iowa Senate’s recent passage of a bill that provides “up to $10 million in tax credits per year to industries that turn by products from biomass feedstock into higher-value chemicals.” [The BioMass industry liked the idea, too.]
  • And while all that’s been going on, Forbes has been chronicling Donald Trump’s “Trade and manufacturing Indiscretions.” The first two sentence tell you all you need to know. “Correcting the record after a Donald Trump policy diatribe is a bit like cleaning up after a St. Bernard in intestinal distress. His logic is sloppy, and he’s loose with the facts.”
  • Meanwhile, ICYMI, the FiveThirtyEight blog has an article urging political candidates to stop talking about manufacturing because “Manufacturing Jobs are Never Coming Back.” The upshot is that we’re a service economy now, and even the reshoring that’s taking place is leading to heavily automated factories with little hiring. According to the blog’s author, “There is nothing wrong with politicians’ trying to save what remains of U.S. manufacturing, nor with trying to avoid repeating old mistakes on trade. But like it or not, the U.S. is now a service-based economy. It’s time candidates started talking about making that economy work for workers, rather than pining for one that’s never coming back.”
  • Last but not least, Iowa experts believe our economy is “lackluster” but still growing, according to RadioIowa.
  • Also, Reuters had a story late last week about shrinking U.S. unemployment and weak signs of a manufacturing revival.

Thanks for reading.

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