Annual attendance in Missouri State Parks tops 20 million for first time ever

More than 20 million people visited Missouri State Parks in 2016, setting a new attendance record and marking the first time that milestone was achieved, according to a release. Missouri trails and state parks are important drivers of tourism and economic activity Among the parks seeing significant attendance gains in 2016 to date were: Castlewood State Park, which has had over 775,000 visitors (up from 660,000 in 2015) Dr. Edmund A. Babler State Park, which has had more than 675,000 visitors (up from 298,000) Elephant Rocks State Park, which has had over 345,000 visitors (up from 300,000) Johnson’s Shut-Ins State Park, which has had over 365,000 visitors (up from 318,000) Long Branch State Park, which has had over 442,000 visitors (up from 395,000) Mastodon State Historic Site, which has had over 553,000 visitors (up from 480,000) Onondaga Cave State Park, which has had over 315,000 visitors (up from 254,000) Sam A. Baker State Park, which has had over 1,264,000 visitors (up from

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Missouri beat all eight contiguous states in job creation over last 12 months

State-by-state numbers released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that Missouri’s net gain of 57,100 jobs over the last year led all eight of its neighboring states; the Show Me State also ranked in the top ten nationwide in new jobs. The same data showed Missouri was tied for the largest statistically significant decrease in the nation in the unemployment rate in November. In August, Missouri was named the 6th best state in the nation for its annual advanced manufacturing industry job growth in a new report from the Brookings Institution. The same report also found that Missouri is the 8th best state in the nation for output growth of its advanced manufacturing industry.

Doe Run donates $40,000 to Missouri S&T for new spectrometer

The Doe Run Company recently donated $40,000 to Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) toward the purchase of an X-ray fluorescence (XRF) Spectrometer for its geology, mining and metallurgical engineering programs. This piece of highly specialized laboratory equipment will assist students in measuring and analyzing the chemical makeup of solids, liquids, alloys, powders and thin films. It will also be used to enhance and expand the hands-on education of future scientists and engineers in the processing of complex mineral sources and toward research on bioactive glasses and sustainable steelmaking technology. “The Missouri mining and manufacturing industries employ more than 270,000 people,” said Mark Coomes, vice president of human resources and community relations at Doe Run. “It’s critical that the individuals who will fill these jobs have access to state-of-the-art equipment in college to learn now how to apply innovations that can help us advance and improve the industry.”

Customers, dealers and distributors to benefit from increased availability, competitive pricing of Motorcraft parts

Motorcraft now is delivering more competitive pricing and improved parts availability to customers following an extensive review aimed at improving the parts purchase and repair experience for dealers, distributors, repair shops and ultimately, the end customer. “We are listening to our customers and taking significant steps to give them what they want,” said Marc Liskey, manager, Repair Product Planning Maintenance & Light Repair, North America. “Offering competitive pricing and consolidating parts will make it easier to stock and sell Motorcraft parts, helping dealers, distributors and installers to do their job more effectively and improving customer satisfaction in the process.” Despite proven quality advantages, independent shops sometimes opt for cheaper, non-Ford and non-Motorcraft parts when servicing out-of-warranty vehicles. Lesser quality parts can reduce customer satisfaction and the shop’s bottom line when the vehicle has to come back due to part defect or failure. Step one in increasing availability was establishing more competitive pricing to expand usage of Motorcraft parts and drive

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NAM: Monday Economic Report

After a burst of post-election enthusiasm, several reports out last week reminded us that the economy continues to have some challenges, despite recent progress. For instance, new manufacturing production data, down 0.1 percent in November, were disappointing following two months of gains. Moreover, output in the sector has risen just 0.1 percent on a year-over-year basis, suggesting essentially stagnant growth over the past 12 months. Meanwhile, total industrial production declined 0.4 percent in November, falling for the third time in the past four months. In addition to manufacturing, utilities production was also lower, down 4.4 percent, whereas mining output increased for the second straight month, up 1.1 percent. On a positive note, we would expect manufacturing production growth to accelerate moving forward, especially if more upbeat sentiment surveys (see below) prove accurate. I anticipate manufacturing output to increase roughly 1.5 percent in 2017. There were similarly discouraging numbers in the housing and retail markets. While Americans have generally been more

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Missouri named #1 Judicial Hellhole by ATRA

The American Tort Reform Foundation issued its 2016-2017 Judicial Hellholes® report today, naming courts in Missouri as the nation’s “most unfair” in the handling of civil litigation. The City of St. Louis is a magnet for product liability lawsuits and consumer class actions. The local trial court hosted three gigantic verdicts this year, totaling $197 million, in cases asserting that talcum powder causes ovarian cancer, plus other multimillion-dollar awards. “This year, thanks to the Show Me Your Lawsuits State’s lax standard for expert testimony, ‘junk science’ is driving groundless lawsuits and monstrous verdicts that have made the Circuit Court for the City of St. Louis the #1 ranked Judicial Hellhole,” American Tort Reform Association president Tiger Joyce said.  “The overwhelming majority of plaintiffs filing these suits are not from St. Louis, or even from Missouri. They travel from across the country to exploit a weak venue law as their lawyers spend heavily on television advertising that works to prejudice potential

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Product Development: Are You a Gatekeeper or Keymaster?

Content by Bob Beckmann, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager and Certified Energy Manager Are you a gatekeeper who monitors and assesses ideas before you let them pass through to the next stage of development…or are you the keymaster, the one who holds all the keys and tells people “get this into production and sell it?” Both approaches can work of course, but the risks associated with option two can be far greater. To help companies minimize expense and maximize the opportunity for success, the world of product design has a tried and true methodology known as the “Stage Gate Process.”  Not everyone uses this method, but a smart company will use some variation of the concept.  The Stage Gate process divides product design into steps or stages and stops people at gates along the way to ensure the process is still aimed at the right end goals.  To many of you, that may sound kind of formal and “not the way we

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New Kansas City CVS facility will create over 360 new jobs

Retail pharmacy chain CVS Pharmacy confirmed that it will build a distribution near Kansas City International Airport. The new facility is expected to create over 360 jobs, as well as an additional 100 jobs that will be outsourced to local businesses. “The key combination of a high-quality workforce and a centralized location will support the growing needs of our customers throughout the Midwest and beyond,” Kevin Hourican, an executive vice president with CVS Health, said in a release. The company is scheduled to break ground in January on this $110 million project. Read the Kansas City Business Journal’s full article here.

Missouri AFL-CIO submits an initative petition to ban right-to-work laws

A Missouri labor union leader sees the 2018 ballot as a way to ban right-work-laws. Mike Louis, president of the Missouri AFL-CIO, submitted an initiative petition Dec. 9 to the Missouri Secretary of State’s office for the 2018 election. It would amend the state Constitution to say that “no existing or future law” shall “impair, restrict or limit the ability of employees to negotiate, enter into and enforce any collectively bargained agreement with an employer that provides financial support for the representational services their collective bargaining representative performs.” Full story here.

EPA distorts science in hydraulic fracturing study

API yesterday blasted the EPA’s abandonment of science in revising the conclusions to the Assessment Report on hydraulic fracturing. “It is beyond absurd for the administration to reverse course on its way out the door,” said API Upstream Director Erik Milito. “The agency has walked away from nearly a thousand sources of information from published papers, technical reports and peer reviewed scientific reports demonstrating that industry practices, industry trends, and regulatory programs protect water resources at every step of the hydraulic fracturing process. Decisions like this amplify the public’s frustrations with Washington. “Fortunately, the science and data clearly demonstrate that hydraulic fracturing does not lead to widespread, systemic impacts to drinking water resources. Unfortunately, consumers have witnessed five years and millions of dollars expended only to see conclusion based in science changed to a conclusion based in political ambiguity. We look forward to working with the new administration in order to instill fact-based science back into the public policy process.” Hydraulic

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