By Time Pearce
The manufacturing industry in Ohio is expanding under the Trump administration, but growth is stunted because many potential employees are also addicted to drugs.
Steve Staub, who runs Staub Manufacturing Solutions in Ohio, attended the State of the Union address Tuesday as a special guest to President Donald Trump. While there, aside from participating in the pageantry, Staub discussed problems in the manufacturing industry and business in general with the president.
Staub mentioned to Trump the toll the opioid crisis has had on business’ ability to fill jobs. About two million Americans nationwide are addicted to the drug. The crisis has been particularly hard on Staub’s home state of Ohio, were thousands of job applicants are turned away because of substance abuse.
“In Ohio alone, they have about 20,000 available jobs in manufacturing. In Dayton, Ohio, where I’m from, we have about 4,000 jobs available today in manufacturing that we can’t fill,” Staub told TheDCNF. “We can’t get people to pass a drug test.”
Other area’s on Staub’s list of concerns are taxes, regulations, health care, and infrastructure.
The Trump administration has made significant, direct strides in two of those areas. At the end of 2017, Trump signed into law the GOP tax plan and unleashed a torrent of investment in the form of raised wages and bonuses. The Trump administration has also reversed the expansion of the regulatory state, which increases the costs of doing business.
Republicans punted on health care, however, as they could not build the support needed to reform or repeal the Affordable Care Act, known widely as Obamacare.
The fate of Trump’s infrastructure plan remains to be seen. Trump championed a $1.5 trillion infrastructure investment plan during his address to Congress last week.
“Together, we can reclaim our building heritage,” Trump said. “We will build gleaming new roads, bridges, highways, railways, and waterways all across our land. And we will do it with American heart, American hands, and American grit.”
More than anything, Staub believes the Trump administration has had the greatest impact on the “overall optimism” of the manufacturing industry and business in general as companies adopt plans for growth and expansion. The National Association of Manufacturers, in their Manufacturers’ Outlook Survey taken every quarter for two decades, found optimism to be at an all-time high in the last quarter of 2017.
Along with the financial boost from the GOP tax plan, companies began implementing their strategies for growth almost immediately.
“We’ve gave a much larger Christmas bonus than we were going to when [tax reform] passed,” Staub told TheDCNF of his own company. “We are giving raises to everybody, and we went ahead and expanded and bought the building next door to us that was for sale as part of our future growth.”