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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

U.S. Jobless Applications Rise, but Levels Point to Job Growth

February 5, 2015 2:47 pm | by Josh Boak, The Associated Press

More people sought unemployment benefits last week, but the number of applicants remained near historic lows in a positive sign for job growth.                               

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U.S. Trade Deficit Jumps 17.1 Percent to $46.6 Billion

February 5, 2015 2:38 pm | by Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press

The U.S. trade deficit in December jumped to the highest level in more than two years as exports fell and Americans bought a record amount of imports.                             

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U.S. Head of FDA Stepping Down; Chief Scientist to Take Over

February 5, 2015 2:31 pm | by Mary Clare Jalonick, Matthew Perrone, The Associated Press

Margaret Hamburg reset the course of the embattled Food and Drug Administration, an agency that had often been seen as ineffective. After nearly six years on the job, Hamburg announced her resignation Thursday in an email to staff.     

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WA Lawmakers Pushing Electric Car Ownership

February 5, 2015 2:15 pm | by Derrick Nunnally, The Associated Press

Even with gas prices hovering around $2 per gallon, Washington state lawmakers are considering a raft of bills to encourage more drivers to turn to electric cars in the name of reducing pollution.               

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U.S. Productivity Falls at 1.8% Rate in Fourth Quarter

February 5, 2015 10:46 am | by Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press

U.S. worker productivity went into reverse in the final three months of the year, while labor costs increased.                                        

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West Coast Port Employers: Shutdown Could Be 5 Days Away

February 5, 2015 10:40 am | by Justin Pritchard, The Associated Press

West Coast seaports could shut down in as soon as five days — hobbling U.S. trade with Asia — if dockworkers and their employers cannot reach a new contract.                           

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Taiwan Plane Crash Survivor Says Engine 'Did Not Feel Right'

February 5, 2015 10:35 am | by Ralph Jennings, The Associated Press

The exact reason for the Taiwan plane crash is still unknown, but most believe the answer lies with the engine. One survivor explained that "the engine did not feel right," and prior to the crash, the pilot told the control tower that the engine was experiening 'flameout.' 

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White House Budget Would Boost Labor Regulators

February 5, 2015 10:07 am | by Andrew Szal, Digital Reporter, IMPO

President Obama's fiscal year 2016 budget proposal includes a $1.3 billion funding increase for the Labor Department — including millions to bolster the department's regulatory oversight agencies.               

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North Dakota Oil Industry Avoids Layoffs

February 5, 2015 9:59 am | by Andrew Szal, Digital Reporter, IMPO

Sliding oil prices have meant mass layoffs in the Texas oilfields. It appears that in second-place North Dakota, however, the burgeoning shale oil and natural gas sector will be spared mass job cuts in the short term.          

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Takata Expects Worse Red Ink Amid Global Air-Bag Woes

February 5, 2015 9:44 am | by Yuri Kageyama, The Associated Press

Takata Corp., the Japanese seat belt and air-bag maker at the center of a defect scandal, is expecting more red ink for the fiscal year through March.                             

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Report: Navistar Contract Agreement Would Salvage Pension Plan

February 5, 2015 9:41 am | by Andrew Szal, Digital Reporter, IMPO

The tentative agreement between truck and engine manufacturer Navistar and members of the United Auto Workers union reportedly will continue the company's pension plan.                       

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JM Smucker Buying Big Heart Pet Brands

February 4, 2015 2:54 pm | by Sarah Skidmore Sell, The Associated Press

J. M. Smucker Co. said Tuesday that it is buying pet food maker Big Heart Pet Brands in a $3.2 billion cash-and-stock deal, giving it a presence in the fast-growing $21 billion pet food industry.                

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Death Reported at Altoids and Life Savers Plant

February 4, 2015 2:45 pm | by Maura Falk, Associate Editor

The Chattanooga Wrigley Manufacturing plant, the home of Altoids and Life Savers, has had a reputation for being dangerous; however it seems to have solidified it this past week when a 54-year old man died on the job, making it the second employee death at the plant within the last 16 months.

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GM 2014 Profit Falls 26 Percent to $2.8B on Recall Costs

February 4, 2015 2:44 pm | by Tom Krisher, The Associated Press

If it weren't for the recalls, 2014 would have been a stellar year for General Motors. Even with $2.8 billion in pretax costs to fix more than 30 million recalled vehicles and $400 million set aside for death and injury claims, GM still managed to turn a $2.8 billion profit.

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Report: Trade Deficit with Japan Resulted in Job Losses in Every State

February 4, 2015 2:33 pm | by Andrew Szal, Digital Reporter, IMPO

A new report says every state saw job losses due to a growing U.S. trade deficit with Japan, and warns Congress should not approve a proposed trade agreement without protections against Japanese currency manipulation.         

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China, Argentina Team Up to Discuss Upcoming Energy Projects

February 4, 2015 11:18 am | by Bridget Bergin, Associate Editor, Manufacturing.Net

A global partnership between Argentina and China was strengthened today as leaders from both countries agreed to collaborate on two new nuclear power plants.                           

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Survey: U.S. Businesses Post Steady Job Gains in January

February 4, 2015 11:13 am | by Christopher Rugaber, The Associated Press

U.S. companies hired at a solid pace last month, a private survey found, the latest sign of steady improvement in the job market.                                   

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Ford To Transition up to 500 Workers to Higher Pay

February 4, 2015 10:57 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, The Associated Press

Ford Motor Co. is moving several hundred U.S. hourly workers into a higher pay bracket after surpassing a cap on the number of lower-wage workers it can hire.                           

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White House Budget Would Fund Additional Manufacturing Hubs

February 4, 2015 10:21 am | by Andrew Szal, Digital Reporter, IMPO

The Obama administration's budget proposal unveiled this week calls for seven new national manufacturing innovation hubs, along with funding to build toward a national network of 45 such sites.                  

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Health, Industry Groups Spar Over Ozone Rule

February 4, 2015 10:10 am | by Andrew Szal, Digital Reporter, IMPO

Health advocates and environmental groups are urging federal officials to adopt stricter limits on ozone, while an industry group argued taking that step would needlessly hamper manufacturing.                  

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