Most economists agree that the “Great Recession” of 2008 ended sometime around August 2009, and while the economy has been slowly recovering, unemployment still appears to be a stubborn problem. The headline rate is just a shade under 8 percent, which translates into a little over 12 million Americans out of work.
Suddenly outsourcing is on the way out and insourcing on the way in as the U.S. trudges unevenly toward President Barack Obama's goal of doubling American exports around the world by the start of 2015. So far, export levels are about halfway to his mark.
Striking Hong Kong dockworkers refused to back down Wednesday in a weeklong pay dispute that is slowing cargo shipments at the world's third busiest port. Several hundred dockworkers and supporters camped out on the road in front of a container terminal. The workers are demanding a 20 percent pay rise but subcontractors supplying labor to port operators are only offering 5 percent.
A Turkish company has announced plans to build a $148 million steel pipe-making plant near Houston. Gov. Rick Perry says about 250 jobs are expected to be created at the facility planned for Baytown. Perry on Tuesday announced Borusan Mannesmann will receive $1.6 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund in support of the project.
The auto market is up, the worldwide economic recovery continues, and auto manufacturers seem to be doing well. Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn says there is "much more excitement" thanks to profits in the auto industry despite the bad economy in Europe.
The eurozone economy has passed another bleak milestone. Official figures Tuesday showed that unemployment across the 17 European Union countries that use the euro has struck 12 percent for the first time since the currency was launched in 1999.
The Indian subsidiary of Honda Motor Co. said Tuesday it will resume construction of its second auto plant in India, suspended since the 2008-2009 global financial crisis. Honda Cars India Ltd. aims to complete the plant in the western Indian state of Rajasthan next year, and to boost its annual vehicle production capacity in India to 240,000 vehicles.
Growth in China's manufacturing picked up in March in a potentially positive sign for the recovery in the world's second-largest economy. The China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said Monday that its Purchasing Managers' Index rose to 50.9 in March from 50.1 in February, which was the lowest reading in five months.
China, Japan and South Korea are inching ahead with talks for a free trade zone that would rival the European Union and North America in economic heft. Despite the achievement of setting aside their often acrimonious relations to begin negotiations, progress will be slow. An agreement to start talks took 10 years.
Japan's jobless rate edged higher and industrial production fell slightly in February as consumer prices also fell, underscoring the fragility of the recovery of the world's third-largest economy. The government data released Friday showed the main consumer price index fell 0.3 percent from a year earlier as deflation continued.
The U.S. has taken its first real swipe at China following accusations that the Beijing government is behind a widespread and systemic hacking campaign targeting U.S. businesses. Buried in a spending bill signed by President Barack Obama on Tuesday is a provision that effectively bars much of the U.S. government from buying information technology made by companies linked to the Chinese government.
Honda Motor Co. said Wednesday it will start producing motorcycles at a new plant in Kenya later this year amid expectations of growth in local demand. Honda has set up Honda Motorcycle Kenya Ltd. for sales and production of motorcycles in Nairobi, becoming the company's third local subsidiary in Africa following one each in South Africa and Nigeria.
The Slovak government has signed a deal with U.S. Steel that will ensure the American ownership of a steel mill that employs thousands in Slovakia for at least five more years. Prime Minister Robert Fico says that in the agreement signed Tuesday, "we created conditions to motivate U.S. Steel to stay in Slovakia and continue to produce steel."
Shares of a number of solar companies sank Monday after JA Solar Holdings Co.'s fourth-quarter loss widened because of weak global demand for solar products. Solar panel prices have tumbled since the Chinese government pushed hundreds of small players into the industry.
Slovakia's Prime Minister met with U.S. Steel executives in Pittsburgh on Monday to discuss the future of a steel mill in Kosice, but no final agreement was announced. Prime Minister Robert Fico said the purpose of his visit was "to motivate U.S. Steel to stay in Slovakia." Fico said he felt Monday's discussions went well and that a written agreement between the country and U.S. Steel may be signed as soon as Wednesday.
Japan and the European Union agreed Monday to start negotiations for a free-trade pact encompassing nations that account for nearly a third of the world economy. A Japan-EU summit set to begin Monday in Tokyo was shelved because of the financial crisis in Cyprus.
The president of struggling Renesas Electronics Corp. said Thursday that the chipmaker is in talks with overseas companies on selling its loss-making mobile device chip operations as part of efforts to streamline its business. Tetsuya Tsurumaru added, however, that the company has not ruled out the possibility of negotiations with domestic firms over the sale of the operations of wholly owned subsidiary Renesas Mobile Corp.
Reuters' Hayley Platt reports from a UK factory which has had to find new markets to thrive. Since the start of the financial crisis, exports have been crucial. They now account for 25 percent of francino's business, up from just 2 percent in 2008. But the Eurozone has been a struggle.
Volkswagen AG announced a recall Wednesday of more than 384,000 vehicles in China to fix gearboxes following a report last week by state TV that criticized the quality of the German automaker's cars. Volkswagen said that problems with direct-shift gearboxes might cause a power interruption, but it said drivers could remain in control and maneuver to a stop.
Premium automotive brands appear to be the only ones doing well these days amid the turmoil in Europe's car market, says Reuters' Julian Satterthwaite. Bentley says it can post higher sales again this year, but a green light for the company's key SUV project remains elusive.
Ford Motor Co. will pay $750 million in separation benefits to hourly workers at a Belgian factory it plans to close next year. Ford revealed the cost in a government filing Tuesday. Ford employs 4,000 hourly workers at the Genk plant. Most approved the separation plan last week.
Swedish wireless equipment maker Ericsson and Switzerland's STMicroelectronics say they will lay off up to 1,600 workers globally as part of a plan for splitting up their unprofitable joint venture. STMicroelectronics, one of Europe's largest chipmakers, announced in December that it wanted out of ST-Ericsson as it struggled with a downturn in global demand.
The U.S. and China began to re-engage Tuesday on knotty issues ranging from economic frictions to North Korea's nuclear program following a months-long hiatus during President Barack Obama's re-election and China's installation of new leaders.
The president of Mitsubishi Electric Corp. said Tuesday the company is aiming to strengthen its business in emerging markets to boost its ratio of overseas sales by 5 percentage points from the current level to 40 percent in fiscal 2015.
Lego is building its first factory in China as part of a plan to move production closer to Asia, its fastest growing market. The Danish maker of colorful plastic building blocks for children said it's investing at least 100 million euros ($130 million) in the new plant. Construction will start in 2014 and it will be fully operational by 2017.