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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Senate Ready To Approve Labor Dept. Chief

July 18, 2013 4:52 pm | by Alan Fram, Associated Press | News | Comments

The Senate was poised Thursday to approve President Barack Obama's choice to head the Labor Department after lawmakers, by the thinnest of margins, voted to remove obstacles blocking the confirmation while honoring a bipartisan pact for approving top nominations.

U.S. Unemployment Aid Applications Drop To 334K

July 18, 2013 4:51 pm | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell 24,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 334,000, a sign that steady job gains should continue. The drop left unemployment benefit applications at the lowest level in 10 weeks, the Labor Department said Thursday. Some of the decline may have been caused by seasonal factors.

VT Gov. Urges IBM To Go Public With Layoff Numbers

July 17, 2013 2:16 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin is urging IBM Corp. to make public the number of employees it laid off last month at its Vermont facilities. And the governor says if he and his lawyer conclude the Vermont Public Records Act requires it, his administration will release the number whether IBM wants to or not.

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Valero Refinery Planning For Expansion

July 17, 2013 2:14 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Construction on a $700 million expansion at Valero Refinery's St. Charles Parish plant is expected to begin sometime in late 2015 or early 2016. The plant occupies roughly 1,000 acres along the Mississippi River in Norco. The expansion will include construction of a large methanol unit, designed to compress natural gas into liquid in order to manufacture chemicals and plastics.

Food Service Manufacturer To Expand In NC

July 17, 2013 2:13 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

An Illinois-based food service and food packaging manufacturer says it's expanding its facilities in North Carolina's Lenoir and Iredell counties, with additional plans to create 77 jobs. North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory's office announced Tuesday that Pactiv LLC will invest more than $9 million in its facilities in Kinston and Mooresville.

Major Economies Still Struggling To Create Jobs

July 17, 2013 9:56 am | by John Heilprin, Associated Press | News | Comments

Jobs growth remains weak among the world's 20 biggest economies, where almost a third of the 93 million unemployed have been out of work for more than a year, top labor and development officials reported Wednesday. In a batch of new figures intended to push G-20 governments into action, the U.N.'s International Labor Organization and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development warned the rate of employment growth remains low.

Delta Faucet Boosting Production At IN Plant

July 17, 2013 9:54 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Delta Faucet Co. plans to increase production at a southeastern Indiana factory and add up to 160 workers in the coming year. Company officials say it will spend about $12 million to renovate and equip its factory in Greensburg. Delta now makes kitchen and bathroom faucets, shower heads, toilets and other accessories.

Honeywell Announces $208M LA Expansion

July 16, 2013 1:27 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Honeywell International Inc. has announced plans for $208 million in expansion projects at its Louisiana production sites in Baton Rouge, Shreveport and Geismar. Gov. Bobby Jindal announced the plans Monday with Honeywell Performance Materials and Technologies CEO Andreas Kramvis. The expansion projects are estimated to create 42 new jobs at the sites, with an average salary of $68,300.

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Pratt & Whitney: 575 Workers Take Early Retirement

July 16, 2013 10:20 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

About 575 U.S. salaried workers are retiring as part of Pratt & Whitney's voluntary separation program, the jet engine manufacturer said Monday. Most of the employees left the company on Monday and more departures will be necessary as the subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. grapples with the winding down of military operations in Afghanistan and what a spokesman called uncertainty in the commercial jet engine spare parts business.

OECD: Unemployment To Stay High Next Year

July 16, 2013 10:15 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Unemployment levels in the world's advanced economies could improve next year, even though the number of people without work will likely continue to rise in several European countries, a leading international economic body said Tuesday. 

200 Jobs Leaving SC With Plant Closure

July 16, 2013 10:09 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

About 200 people are losing their jobs with the closure of a global manufacturer's Orangeburg plant. Officials with Federal-Mogul said Monday the company is consolidating its Orangeburg operations to larger facilities in Tennessee and Mexico.

Auto Supplier Plant In NH Expanding

July 15, 2013 1:57 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Plans are in the works to expand an auto supplier plant in New Hampshire. Freudenberg-NOK is planning the $3 million expansion in Northfield that is expected to add at least 15 jobs to the 115 currently employed. The Concord Monitor reports Business Finance Authority president Jack Donovan says construction is expected to take six months.

Robots Replace Human Farm Hands

July 15, 2013 12:59 pm | by AssociatedPress | Videos | Comments

Robots and computers are already replacing workers in factories and offices. Now engineers are developing intelligent machines to do farm work and help ease a worsening labor shortage on American farms. See the engineers test the Lettuce Bot, a machine that can "thin" a field of lettuce in the time it takes about 20 workers to do the job by hand.

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General Electric CEO Calls For More Innovation

July 12, 2013 2:03 pm | by Scott Bauer, Associated Press | News | Comments

The United States needs more startup companies and innovation to compete with the rest of the world, General Electric Co. chairman and CEO Jeff Immelt told the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents on Friday. Immelt said the U.S. needs more risk capital to help fuel startups, less government regulation, a greater emphasis on research and development and more cooperation with higher education.

Mercury Marine Invests $20M In WI Expansion

July 12, 2013 1:59 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Mercury Marine has begun a $20 million expansion of two of its Fond du Lac plants, saying there has been greater demand for its outboard engines amid the slow rebound of the boating industry following some tough years. The company has begun constructing the expansions, which will add a total of 38,000 square feet of manufacturing space to the 1.5 million it already has in the city.

Colgate Closing NJ Plant, Laying Off 350

July 12, 2013 1:56 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Colgate-Palmolive has announced plans to close its Morristown plant. The New York-based consumer products company says that it will lay off 350 employees and move more than 200 nonmanufacturing workers to its Piscataway technology center.

Smartphone Slowdown Could Spell Trouble In Taiwan

July 12, 2013 11:45 am | by ReutersTV | Videos | Comments

With signs the high-end smartphone market in the developed world is at a near-term saturation point, Taiwanese chipmakers like TSMC may find once-assured profits are more fleeting than expected. The promised explosion of next-gen mobile devices may not create the windfall these chipmakers were expecting.

OR Company Moving Plant From China To NY

July 12, 2013 9:59 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Disposable flatware maker Trellis Earth Products is moving its manufacturing operations from China to upstate New York, where it will create 189 jobs. Trellis, with headquarters in Portland, Ore., plans to break ground on an $8 million, 80,000-square-foot facility in the Rochester Technology Park by the end of the summer.

VT Airport To Host Small Plane Manufacturer

July 12, 2013 9:57 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Vermont officials say a German light aircraft manufacturer is going to set up operations at the Newport State Airport creating 25 jobs. The expansion was announced Thursday by Gov. Peter Shumlin and the owners of the Jay Peak resort who are leading an economic charge designed to create thousands of jobs in Vermont's Northeast Kingdom.

Carpet Company To Invest $350M On Factory

July 12, 2013 9:55 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Documents filed with a state agency show that a carpet company expects to invest $350 million to complete one of two new factories planned for Georgia. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Engineered Floors filed documents with the Department of Community Affairs saying the project should generate almost $7 million a year in local sales and property tax revenue.

Prevent Your Kidnapping With Re-Shoring?

July 12, 2013 8:01 am | by Joel Hans, Managing Editor, Manufacturing.net | Blogs | Comments

Who, at this point, hasn’t heard about Chip Starnes, the American co-owner of a medical supply company, who was held against his will for five days by his own Chinese employees? As with most other news of labor relations coming out of China, many are using this event as another example of why manufacturers need to be moving back to the U.S. as soon as possible. I wouldn’t be so quick to judgment.

Microsoft Reshuffles Company Structure

July 11, 2013 1:50 pm | by Barbara Ortutay, Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writers | News | Comments

Microsoft Corp. is reshuffling its business in an attempt to promote faster innovation and a sharper focus on devices and services. The move by the world's largest software maker comes amid lukewarm response to the latest version of its flagship Windows operating system and a steady decline in demand for PCs as people turn to tablets and other mobile gadgets.

Toshiba Completes U.S. Inverter Plant Expansion

July 11, 2013 1:46 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Toshiba Corp. said Wednesday its U.S. affiliate Toshiba International Corp. completed an expansion to its inverter plant in Houston, Texas, that it began in August 2012. The expansion is part of a $20 million capital investment in Toshiba International's medium voltage industrial inverter production.

Vestas, Xerox Planning To Add CO Jobs

July 10, 2013 2:18 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Colorado officials are encouraged after wind turbine manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems said it wants to hire more than 100 new people in Pueblo, while Xerox Services in Greeley said it plans to add 1,000 more seasonal employees through the end of the year.

NC Approves State Package For 240 GE Aviation Jobs

July 10, 2013 10:11 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A General Electric Co. unit is getting a rich incentives package to add about 240 jobs at four North Carolina factories within five years. Gov. Pat McCrory's office said Tuesday GE Aviation could get state tax breaks worth up to nearly $5 million if the company meets hiring and investment targets.

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