WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer U.S. companies expect to hire new workers in coming months, as business economists grow increasingly pessimistic about the overall economy's growth in the coming year. Nearly 85 percent of economic experts surveyed expect the economy to grow at a meager 2 percent or less over the next 12 months, according to the National Association for Business Economists.
DETROIT (AP) — Honda Motor Co. said Monday it has added 1,000 new workers to staff a second shift at its factory in Greensburg, Ind., where the Civic compact car is made. The added shift increases production at the factory to 200,000 cars per year, and is the latest sign that Honda production is returning to normal after being disrupted by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
DETROIT (AP) — Harley-Davidson Inc. is recalling about 308,000 motorcycles, most of them in the U.S., to fix a switch problem that can cause failure of the brake lights and possibly even the rear brakes themselves. The company said in documents filed last week with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that brake light switches can be exposed to too much heat from the exhaust system.
SEGUIN, Texas (AP) — Alamo Group Inc., which makes road maintenance, industrial and farm equipment, said Friday that it will close a plant in Sioux Falls, S.D., eliminating 77 jobs there. The company, based in Seguin, Texas, said it will consolidate the operations into its facility in Gibson City, Ill.
MASON CITY, Iowa (AP) — Kraft Foods will lay off 40 to 50 full-time workers at its Mason City plant in December. Corporate spokeswoman Joyce Hodel told the Globe Gazette (http://bit.ly/o10T1P ) that the layoffs are the result of external conditions, seasonality and efficiencies at the plant.
TOKYO (AP) — Japan's exports rose for a second straight month in September, showing a recovery is underway from the tsunami disaster even as manufacturers face a strong yen and weak global economy. The Finance Ministry said Monday that exports rose 2.4 percent from a year earlier in September.
NEW YORK (AP) — Strong demand for machinery drove up Caterpillar's profit 44 percent in the third quarter and the company expects even stronger sales next year. Caterpillar's stock rose almost 5 percent in premarket trading, increasing $4.26 a share to $91.65. The world's largest maker of construction and mining equipment earned $1.
REDMOND, Wash (AP) — Microsoft Corp. said Sunday it reached a patent licensing agreement with Taiwan-based Compal, giving the software giant royalty-generating deals with more than half of the world's manufacturers of mobile devices that run Android and Chrome. Microsoft maintains that Android and Chrome use certain Microsoft patents and that manufacturers must pay to run the technology on their products.
NEW YORK (AP) — Solar energy may finally get its day in the sun. The high costs that for years made it impractical as a mainstream source of energy are plummeting. Real estate companies are racing to install solar panels on office buildings. Utilities are erecting large solar panel "farms" near big cities and in desolate deserts.
KANSAS CITY, Missouri (AP) — Ford Motor Co. confirmed its plan to build a North American version of its popular European commercial Transit van on Friday, saying it would spend $1.1 billion on upgrading its Claycomo plant to build the new model. The move will add 1,600 jobs at Claycomo, near Kansas City, where Ford hopes to have the Transit ready to join its North American lineup in 2013.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California is poised to formally adopt the nation's most comprehensive so-called "cap-and-trade" system, designed to provide a financial incentive for polluters to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. State officials hope other states and Washington D.C. will follow suit with similar plans.
LONDON (AP) — Scientists are warning officials negotiating a global treaty on mercury that banning the deadly chemical completely would be dangerous for public health because of the chemical's use in vaccines. The ban option is one of several proposals on the table for a meeting later this month in Nairobi, but a final treaty isn't expected until 2013.
NEW YORK (AP) — General Electric Co.'s third-quarter profit rose 18 percent as its lending business continued to rebound. GE is a barometer of the economy because it reaches so many industries. It builds everything from jet engines to refrigerators, and its GE Capital lending arm is involved in a variety of businesses including credit cards and real estate.
WINDSOR, Ont. — Chrysler will begin rotating layoffs next week at its minivan plant in Windsor, Ont. as it reacts to a supply problem with its new engines, the company said Friday. The automaker said production of the Pentastar 3.7-litre V-6 engine has slowed at a plant in Trenton, Mich.
HELSINKI (AP) — About 30,000 Finnish metals and engineering industry workers began a strike Friday, expected to hit the country's vital export trade, with fears it could spread in two weeks' time. The industrial action came after unions and management rejected National Conciliator Esa Lonka's mediation proposal on wages and working conditions, following days of negotiations.
MINDEN, Neb. (AP) — Federal labor officials want to impose nearly $170,000 in fines on a Nebraska fiberglass company for violations of safety and health standards. The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration says Wednesday that America's Fiberglass Animals was cited for eight repeat and seven serious violations found during an inspection at its plant in Minden.
HELSINKI (AP) — Finnish metals group Outokumpu Oyj says it will lay off 1,300 workers worldwide to cut costs and improve profitability. The world's second largest stainless steel maker said Thursday that the layoffs and streamlining operations are aimed at saving $140 million (euro100 million) by 2012.
ONEONTA, Ala. (AP) — Potato farmer Keith Smith saw most of his immigrant workers leave after Alabama's tough immigration law took effect, so he hired Americans. It hasn't worked out: Most show up late, work slower than seasoned farm hands and are ready to call it a day after lunch or by midafternoon.
TOKYO, Oct. 20 (Kyodo) — Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corp. will recall about 380 trucks for a third time to replace a defective part that prompted the first recall -- only to be reinstalled during a second recall to fix another problem, the transport ministry said Thursday. The trucks are part of about 46,000 trucks of the Super Great and The Great models which were recalled in 2005 and 2007 to change a defective clutch part which could make it impossible to shift gears or drive.
BUCKHANNON, W.Va. (AP) — A Pennsylvania man has died from injuries suffered in a fall at a Buckhannon wood products plant. The Inter-Mountain (http://bit.ly/pGSJjs ) reports that 44-year-old Mike Atkinson fell 40 feet to the bottom of a silo Monday while doing routine maintenance a the Weyerhaeuser plant, which was shut down at the time.