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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
A German powertrain maker will build its first American factory in Tunica, with plans to invest $140 million and hire 300 people over five years. Feuer Powertrain Gmbh & Co. KG says it hopes to start production by early 2015 at the 156,600 square-foot plant it will build. Feuer will make forged crankshafts for cars, trucks and heavy equipment.