Midwest manufacturing expands in January


The Chicago Fed Midwest Manufacturing Index gained 1.3 percent in January, denoting expanding activity.
The Chicago Fed Midwest Manufacturing Index gained 1.3 percent in January, denoting expanding activity.

The Chicago Fed Midwest Manufacturing Index (CFMMI) increased by 1.3 percent in January to reach a seasonally-adjusted reading of 90.1, according to a statement released by the Midwestern branch of the nation's central bank. The Federal Reserve Board's industrial production index for manufacturing (IPMFG) rose 0.8 percent during the period. The improving sector activity could coincide with an increase in manufacturing staffing

The December reading for the CFMMI was revised upwards to reach 2.2 percent. The organization previously provided a reading of 1.7 percent during the period, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

A surge in auto production was a major contributor to the improvement in the CFMMI, as manufacturing activity related to vehicles rose by 4.1 percent, the media outlet reports. The regional metric exceeded the manufacturing results experienced nationwide during the period. The regional figure rose 3.3 percent in December.

One example of the region's strong manufacturing activity is healthcare products manufacturer Hospira, which announced that it will invest $16 million into expanding a plant at McPherson, Kansas, according to The McPherson Sentinel. The manufacturer obtained the needed permits in February, and started the plant expansion on the 17th of the month. The new construction will result in the addition of 28,000 square feet of space that will be used for manufacturing as well as 15,000 square feet of office space.

The company has announced that it has already started staffing roles related to lab work, engineering and manufacturing, the news source reports. Charlotte Pinkall, director of human resources at the McPherson plant, stated that the facility intends to hire at least 100 more people as part of the expansion.

An example of strong manufacturing activity in another region of the United States is healthcare supplies manufacturer Medline Industries' recent announcement that it will create 150 new jobs when opening its 600,000-square-foot facility, according to a statement.

The new plant will be opened so that the manufacturer can produce FitRight, which is its new line of incontinence products. Around 20 percent of Americans will be at least 65 years old by 2030. More than 50 percent of all people who are residents of nursing homes and more than half of all homebound people suffer from problems with incontinence.

Medline also has a 448,000-square-foot distribution facility in Lithia Springs, which is used to transport the company's products to various healthcare facilities in the southeast.

"We are excited to have such a well respected and nationally recognized company like Medline join our rapidly growing bioscience community," Metro Atlanta Chamber Bioscience and Health IT Development Vice President David Hartnett, said in the statement. "This is a real win for Douglasville, which is rapidly becoming a desired location for companies like Medline and keeps us clearly on track to take a leadership position as a hub for medical and surgical products manufacturing and distribution."

The machinery that will be used by the new facility is state-of-the-art, functioning at a much faster pace than other equipment used by firms in the industry and utilizing customized packaging in order to lower costs.

"This new facility is one of our biggest investments ever, and we our very thankful to the state of Georgia, Douglas County and the city of Douglasville for welcoming us with a terrific labor force and an inviting business environment in which we can succeed and, in turn, help the local community grow and thrive," Dan Love, president of Medline's personal care products division, said in the statement.