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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Gov't Sells More GM Shares, Cuts Stake To 7 Percent

September 26, 2013 2:25 pm | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

The U.S. government is starting another phase of selling off its General Motors stock after cutting its stake in the automaker to just over 7 percent. The Treasury Department says it still owns 101.3 million GM shares. It got 912 million shares, a 60.8 percent stake in the company, in exchange for a $49.5 billion bailout of GM in 2009.

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.

GM's $4.5B In Notes Will Cut High-Interest Debt

September 25, 2013 2:28 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

General Motors will sell $4.5 billion in bonds to reduce debts owed to union-run trusts that pay health care bills for the company's U.S. and Canadian retirees. The company said Tuesday that it will spend $3.2 billion from the bond sale to buy 120 million shares of GM preferred stock from a U.S. trust that provides health care to retired members of the United Auto Workers union.

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Orders For Long-Lasting Factory Goods Up Slightly

September 25, 2013 10:15 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

Companies placed slightly more orders in August for U.S. long-lasting manufactured goods, stepping up demand for cars, trucks and machinery. Even with the gain, business spending on factory goods may not be strong enough to accelerate economic growth in the July-September quarter.

Airbus Sees World Aircraft Fleet Doubling By 2032

September 24, 2013 2:31 pm | by Pan Pylas, Associated Press | News | Comments

Airbus is predicting that the number of jet planes around the world will double in the next 20 years, largely to satisfy demand in emerging markets, particularly China. At a press briefing in London, where it unveiled its market forecasts for the period up to 2032, the European plane maker said air traffic will grow 4.7 percent annually.

How BlackBerry Fell So Fast

September 24, 2013 1:05 pm | by CNN Money | Videos | Comments

BlackBerry has agreed to sell itself for $4.7 billion to a group led by largest shareholder, Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. BlackBerry said Monday that a letter of intent has been signed and its shareholders will receive $9 in cash for each share. But while the smartphone maker has agreed to a takeover bid, its struggles are far from over.

Chrysler Prepares For IPO At Trust's Request

September 24, 2013 10:20 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

Chrysler Group is reluctantly preparing for an initial public offering of some of its shares. The automaker is proceeding with the IPO after it failed to reach an agreement on the value of the stock with the retiree trust that owns it. Chrysler shares haven't been publicly traded since 1998, when the company merged with Daimler AG.

EPA To 'Effectively Shut Down' Without Budget Deal

September 23, 2013 2:32 pm | by Josh Lederman, Associated Press | News | Comments

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency says the agency will "effectively shut down" unless Congress approves stopgap funding by Oct. 1. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy says the agency won't be able to pay employees. She says only a core group of people will remain on duty in case the EPA has to respond to a "significant emergency." The vast majority of employees will stay home.

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BlackBerry Slashes Jobs In Face Of $1B 2Q Loss

September 23, 2013 2:30 pm | by Rob Gillies, Associated Press | News | Comments

It was once so addictive it inspired the nickname "CrackBerry." President Barack Obama confessed to being among the millions of devotees who couldn't bear to stop tapping feverishly away on its tiny keyboard. Madonna once said she slept with hers under her pillow. Then came the iPhone.

Moody's Restores GM Debt To Investment Grade

September 23, 2013 2:28 pm | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

A key ratings agency has restored General Motors' debt to investment grade status, eight years after the company lost the rating as it spiraled toward bankruptcy protection. The upgrade came on Monday morning, shortly after GM announced plans to buy back high-interest preferred stock from a union retiree health care trust fund for $3.2 billion.

Survey: China Manufacturing At 6-Month High

September 23, 2013 2:26 pm | by Kelvin Chan, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

China's manufacturing rose to a six-month high in September, in the latest sign that the world's second biggest economy is gradually recovering from a prolonged slowdown. The preliminary version of HSBC's purchasing managers' index released Monday climbed to 51.2 from 50.1 in August on a 100-point scale. Numbers above 50 indicate an expansion in activity.

Japan Isn't Trading Its Way Up

September 23, 2013 12:14 pm | by Reuters TV | Videos | Comments

The latest figures show Japan's exports climbing - so what's got the country's manufacturers feeling worse? Reuters' Yonggi Kang reports on the darker side of the country's trade picture and what exactly it takes to keep Japan's companies happy.

Long, Strange Trip Ending For VW's Hippie Van

September 23, 2013 10:02 am | by Bradley Brooks, Stan Lehman, Associated Press | News | Comments

It carried hippies through the 1960s, hauled surfers in search of killer waves during endless summers and serves as a workhorse across the developing world, but the long, strange trip of the Volkswagen van is ending. Brazil is the last place in the world still producing the iconic vehicle.

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Unemployment Rates Rise In A Third Of U.S. States

September 23, 2013 9:58 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

Employers cut jobs in 20 states last month, suggesting modest improvement in the job market this year is not enough to benefit all areas of the country. The Labor Department said Friday that 29 states added jobs, while Montana showed no net gain or loss in August. Unemployment rates rose in 18 states, fell in 17 and were unchanged in 15.

President Applauds Auto Mfg Resurgence

September 23, 2013 9:54 am | by Heather Hollingsworth, Associated Press | News | Comments

President Barack Obama applauded the resurgence of auto manufacturing Friday at a Ford Motor Co. plant near Kansas City as he urged Congress not to hamper the nation's economic recovery with threats of a partial government shutdown. "We bet on the America worker, we bet on you and now that bet is paying off," Obama said. "You have trouble making (vehicles) fast enough."

$188M Contract Is Welcome News For OH Tank Plant

September 20, 2013 2:08 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A deal to upgrade Abrams tanks for Saudi Arabia will be a big boost for the nation's only tank-manufacturing plant, which just a year ago was on shaky footing amid numerous threats to its federal funding. The $188 million contract with Saudi Arabia calls for most of the work to be done at the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center in Lima, about 80 miles south of Toledo.

MAPI: Return To Moderate Growth

September 20, 2013 10:57 am | by MAPI | News | Comments

Following a strong pace of production in the first quarter of 2013, manufacturing production eased in the second quarter but should accelerate growth, according to the quarterly Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation U.S. Industrial Outlook, a report that analyzes 27 major industries.

Measure Of U.S. Economy's Health Up 0.7 Percent

September 20, 2013 10:09 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

A gauge of the U.S. economy's future health posted a solid gain in August, signaling stronger growth in coming months. The Conference Board said Thursday that its index of leading indicators increased 0.7 percent in August from July. That followed a 0.5 percent gain in July from June.

CEOs Less Optimistic About The U.S. Economy

September 18, 2013 1:35 pm | by Joseph Pisani, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

U.S. chief executives are less optimistic about the economy, according to a survey released Wednesday. The survey also indicates that disagreements over the 2014 budget and raising the debt ceiling in Washington are making them cautious about hiring.

Administration Announces $474M For Skills Training

September 18, 2013 12:47 pm | by U.S. Department of Labor | News | Comments

Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez announced $474.5 million in grants to community colleges and universities around the country for the development and expansion of innovative training programs in partnership with local employers. The grants are part of a multiyear, nearly $2 billion initiative to expand targeted training programs for unemployed workers, especially those impacted by foreign trade.

Energy Department To Sell Fisker Loan

September 18, 2013 10:00 am | by Matthew Daly, Associated Press | News | Comments

The Energy Department says it is selling a $192 million loan made to struggling electric car maker Fisker Automotive Inc. The sale, to be held next month, is the latest setback for a half-billion-dollar loan guarantee offered to the California car maker in 2009 as part of the Obama administration's program to promote green energy.

Obama Takes Economy Message To Corporate Leaders

September 18, 2013 9:58 am | by Jim Kuhnhenn, Associated Press | News | Comments

President Barack Obama, facing a budget showdown with Congress, is pushing his economic agenda to some of the nation's top corporate executives while cautioning Republicans not to precipitate a government shutdown or an unprecedented debt default.

Germany: Economic Giant Reluctant To Lead

September 18, 2013 9:54 am | by Geir Moulson, Associated Press | News | Comments

Germany boasts the world's most powerful woman, Europe's most powerful economy and an industrial machine that's the envy of the planet. With all that muscle, it seems natural to assume the mantle of Europe's undisputed leader. But Germany is a reluctant giant — and this Sunday's national elections are unlikely to change that.

United Tech: Europe Improving, Military Parts Down

September 18, 2013 9:50 am | by Stephen Singer, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Sharp cuts in U.S. military spare parts orders are hurting United Technologies Corp.'s helicopter maker, Sikorsky, the chief financial officer said Tuesday, although he was more optimistic about prospects in Europe. CFO Greg Hayes told investor analysts that automatic U.S. federal budget cuts beginning in March could take a bigger bite out of profit in 2014 than the company initially expected.

The Gray Shift Part 2: Using Ergonomy To Retain Valuable Older Workers

September 18, 2013 8:01 am | by Earl Hagman, PhD, MSEE, MBA, President, Ergotech Incorporated | Articles | Comments

To address coming workforce demographic changes, employers must create a corporate culture that promotes both safety and wellness. Healthy workers and a safe workspace reduce costs and increase productivity, so these efforts will be repaid fully.

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