3Q's: Jay Moon, president of the Mississippi Manufacturing Association

Jay Moon, president of the Mississippi Manufacturing Association, was in Tupelo last week, speaking at Networking at Noon. Moon said the state’s furniture industry, like the rest of the manufacturing industry, is affected by global trade. Dumping, raw materials costs, logistical costs and other factors have an impact on all manufacturers, he said.
Business Editor Dennis Seid spoke to him after the meeting.

Q: What’s the health of manufacturing in the U.S. as well as Mississippi?
A: About 15 percent of the work force is tied to manufacturing and manufacturing is coming back strong. It’s still very important to the country and to the state. Contrary to what some are saying, we’re not moving from a manufacturing to service economy.
Overall, manufacturing is still strong. Certainly you see ups and downs.
In Mississippi, we’re fortunate to have a very diversified manufacturing base. When you have additions like GE, KiOR, Paccar, Toyota and other high-tech, advanced manufacturing coming to the state, it says a lot.

Q: What do you think the impact of Toyota will be?
A:Toyota is the No. 1 manufacturer in the world, and the Toyota Production System is emulated by other manufacturers. I think you’ll see more of that. Community colleges and several universities also teach the Toyota Production System.
You’ll also see several Tier 1, 2 and 3 suppliers here and across the state, so employment will be strong.
We know from experience that every international automaker that has built in the United States has also expanded its facilities. Nissan, for example, expanded its original plans before it even opened.
So I think with the Corolla, we’ll eventually see something else built at Blue Springs.

Q: What are the biggest concerns you hear from manufacturers across the state? Is there any particular issue that’s talked about more than another?
A: It’s uncertainty. They just don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s a huge amount of money sitting on the sidelines, waiting to hit the market.
But what worries them, for example, are new regulations, potential cap-and-trade legislation and health care reform and what the costs might be.

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