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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Hyundai To Defer Payments For Federal Workers

October 2, 2013 10:10 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Hyundai is offering to defer new-car payments for 800,000 workers who have been furloughed due to the partial U.S. government shutdown. The company says workers who buy or lease cars this month won't have to make payments until January. Those who already own a Hyundai financed through the company won't have to make payments until they go back to work.

U.S. Manufacturing Expands At Best Pace In 2½ Years

October 2, 2013 10:08 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

US factory activity expanded last month at the fastest pace in 2 ½ years, an encouraging sign that manufacturing could lift economic growth and hiring in the coming months. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said Tuesday that its manufacturing index rose in September to 56.2, the highest since April 2011.

U.S. Businesses Worry About A Prolonged Shutdown

October 2, 2013 10:06 am | by Joyce M. Rosenberg, Scott Mayerowitz, AP Business Writers | News | Comments

As the government's partial shutdown enters a second day, most companies across the country are doing business as usual. Yet concern is rising that a prolonged shutdown would cause some work at private companies to dry up and consumers to lose faith in the U.S. economy.

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Supply Chain Strategies And The Future Of American Manufacturing

October 2, 2013 8:01 am | by Rachel Leisemann Immel, Associate Editor, IMPO | Articles | Comments

China’s overwhelming manufacturing cost advantage over the U.S. is shrinking fast. Within three years, a Boston Consulting Group analysis concludes that rising Chinese wages, higher U.S. productivity, a weaker dollar, and other factors will virtually close the cost gap between the U.S. and China for many goods consumed in North America. 

New Report: U.S. Trade Deficit With China Costing $37B In Lost Wages Annually

October 1, 2013 3:30 pm | News | Comments

A new study by the Economic Policy Institute finds that a growing trade deficit with China has cost the U.S. billions of dollars in lost wages. In 2011 alone, unbalanced trade with the People’s Republic resulted in lost U.S. wages of $37.0 billion. The EPI study cites 2.7 million U.S. jobs lost between 2001 and 2011 due to the trade gap with China, and over 2.1 million of those jobs were in the manufacturing sector. 

American Crystal Sugar To Default On USDA Loan

October 1, 2013 2:11 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

American Crystal Sugar will default on a government loan of $71.2 million under a program that provides relief when a glut of sugar on the market depresses prices. David Berg, the company's president and CEO, said that forfeiting the sugar put up as collateral was the best option, given the very low prices that sugar is fetching.

Government Shutdown Begins

October 1, 2013 10:18 am | by Andrew Taylor, Associated Press | News | Comments

Congress plunged the nation into a partial government shutdown Tuesday as a protracted dispute over President Barack Obama's signature health care law reached a boiling point, forcing some 800,000 federal workers off the job. Obama readied a midday statement to the nation as Democrats and Republicans maintained a blame-each-other duel on Capitol Hill.

Merck To Cut 8,500 More Jobs

October 1, 2013 10:11 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

The drugmaker Merck said Tuesday that it plans to cut another 8,500 jobs as part of a plan to reduce its annual costs by about $2.5 billion by the end of 2015. In addition, Merck will move its headquarters from Whitehouse Station, N.J., to existing facilities in Kenilworth, N.J.

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Eurozone Unemployment 'May Have Peaked'

October 1, 2013 10:10 am | by Pan Pylas, Associated Press | News | Comments

The eurozone's labor market appears to have stabilized, official figures indicated Tuesday, another sign that the eurozone economy is recovering from its longest-ever recession. Though Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, said the unemployment rate across the 17-member eurozone held steady at 12 percent in August, it found the number of people out of work fell for the third month running.

The Truth About Reshoring, Productivity, And Today’s Manufacturer

October 1, 2013 8:00 am | by Jim Shepherd , Plex Systems | Articles | Comments

Virtually all analysts agree that, yes, many American manufacturers have been successful in bringing some previously lost business back home. But it’s happening at a slower pace than the industry had hoped. According to Henry Moser, the founder of the national Reshoring Initiative, the actual rate of reshoring is somewhere between a trickle and torrent.  

A New Cry In France: 'Let Us Work Sundays!'

September 30, 2013 2:24 pm | by Jamey Keaten, Associated Press | News | Comments

Under French law, Sunday is a mandatory day off to help ensure rest and the quality of life, although some retailers in tourist areas or special commercial zones can get exemptions. Critics say the protections go too far, crimping modern lifestyles and putting France at a competitive disadvantage.

Global Study: World Not Ready For Aging Population

September 30, 2013 2:17 pm | by Kristen Gelineau, Associated Press | News | Comments

The world is aging so fast that most countries are not prepared to support their swelling numbers of elderly people, according to a global study going out Tuesday by the United Nations and an elder rights group. The report ranks the social and economic well-being of elders in 91 countries, with Sweden coming out on top and Afghanistan at the bottom.

Shutdown And Debt Ceiling Loom Large

September 30, 2013 1:49 pm | by CNN Money | Videos | Comments

The sequester and forced budget cuts have been squeezing budgets and sending home federal workers all year. Now, October is a key month as the federal government has been unable to pass a budget or raise the debt ceiling. The consequences of failing to do either could be damaging to the economy. 

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Workmanship Blamed For 2011 Tear In 737's Roof

September 30, 2013 10:32 am | by Gene Johnson, Associated Press | News | Comments

A National Transportation Safety Board report blames shoddy workmanship for an in-flight tear in the roof of a Southwest Airlines plane in 2011. The Boeing 737-300 was en route from Phoenix to Sacramento, Calif., on April 1, 2011, when a 5-foot-long gash opened in the fuselage.

Union Approves Contract Extension At Oshkosh Corp.

September 30, 2013 10:30 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Union workers at Oshkosh Corp. have given the company what it says it needs to make a competitive bid on a military contract worth billions of dollars. United Auto Workers Local 578 voted Sunday to extend the contract five years after it expires in 2016. The extension protects more than 2,500 jobs at the Fox Valley's largest manufacturer.

Old Dutch Plant In Montreal Set To Close

September 27, 2013 2:03 pm | by Old Dutch, potato, chips, Montreal, Canada, plant, close, jobs | News | Comments

A 49-year-old potato chip plant built by Humpty Dumpty and now owned by Old Dutch was set to close Friday — affecting 216 workers in the Montreal area. Its U.S.-based company announced in May the plant had "reached the end of its economic life" and would close after Old Dutch failed to get a $20-million to $25-million subsidy from the Quebec government to renovate the plant.

OH Plant Making New Cherokee Brings Workers Back

September 27, 2013 10:10 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Chrysler is bringing back about 500 idled workers faster than expected after temporary layoffs from a northwest Ohio plant that produces the new Jeep Cherokee. Transmission reprogramming and extra test-driving delayed shipment of the vehicles, and inventory from the Toledo facility had accumulated, so some second-shift workers were idled earlier this week.

Anderson Tissue Plant To Add About 200 Jobs

September 27, 2013 10:04 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A tissue make in Anderson is working on an expansion that is expected to add at least 200 jobs. First Quality Enterprises is clearing land at its plant for a third tissue-making machine, the Anderson Independent-Mail reported. Anderson County economic development authorities said they could not talk about the company's plans.

U.S. Unemployment Aid Applications Near 6-Year Low

September 26, 2013 2:27 pm | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell 5,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 305,000, the second-lowest level in six years. Steady declines in applications show that very few companies are laying off workers. The Labor Department said Thursday that the less volatile four-week average declined 7,000 to 308,000, the lowest since June 2007.

IMTSTV Investigates Smartforce

September 25, 2013 4:00 pm | by imtsvideos | Videos | Comments

Careers in manufacturing offer an unparalleled opportunity to work in an innovative environment with some of the world’s most advanced technology. But beyond that, these high-tech jobs offer good pay and a solid path to growth that’s hard to beat. However, the manufacturing industry is having a hard time finding the skilled workers it needs.

IN Industrial Space In High Demand

September 25, 2013 2:30 pm | by Joseph S. Pete, The Times | News | Comments

The amount of vacant space in northwestern Indiana warehouses, factories and business parks has sunk to the lowest level in more than two decades. The region's industrial vacancy rate has fallen to 7.24 percent, one of the lowest rates that market has seen, according to a commercial real estate organization. The rate has been steadily dropping from its peak of 12.1 percent at the end of 2009.

Expansion Planned For Window Film Plant In VA

September 25, 2013 2:22 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Eastman Chemical Co. plans to invest $40 million over the next three years to expand its manufacturing operation in Henry County, creating 25 jobs. Gov. Bob McDonnell announced the planned expansion on Wednesday. The facility acquired by Eastman last year manufactures window films for the automotive and architectural markets and employs about 500 people.

Moving In Droves To Texas

September 25, 2013 12:29 pm | by CNN Money | Videos | Comments

Residents of Midland, Texas enjoy the second highest personal incomes in the United States, thanks to a booming oil and gas industry. Unemployment in Midland is less than half the national average at 3.5 percent. If people in Midland don't have a job, it's because they don't want to work, say the residents.

Bangladesh Factories Shut Amid Workers' Protests

September 25, 2013 10:13 am | by Julhas Alam, Associated Press | News | Comments

Police in Bangladesh used batons, rubber bullets and tear gas Wednesday to stop ongoing protests by garment workers demanding higher wages, while factory owners feared they may miss shipments to the United States and Europe. The fifth day of protests in two industrial districts near Dhaka, the capital, forced authorities to close more than 100 factories for the day, police and news reports said.

Shell Considering $12.5B Plant In Ascension Parish

September 25, 2013 10:10 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Shell Oil Co. announced Tuesday that it has settled on Ascension Parish to possibly build a $12.5 billion natural gas to liquids plant that would create 740 direct jobs. No final decision has been made on whether to construct the facility on a site near Sorrento, about 30 miles from Baton Rouge. The company says it will decide after engineering studies and environmental permitting are done.

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