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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

Can Reliability Excellence Help Explain The Jobless Recovery?

August 13, 2013 8:02 am | by Mark Ruby, MBA, Life Cycle Engineering | Articles | Comments

Despite 15 months of quarter-to-quarter growth in U.S. real gross domestic product (GDP), the unemployment rate remains stubbornly high and well above other economic recoveries of the same maturity. While the official U3 employment measure has begun to show slight improvements, the broader U6 and U7 measures show much less improvement and remain essentially flat.

Manufacturing Technology Orders Down In June

August 12, 2013 2:13 pm | by AMT | News | Comments

June U.S. manufacturing technology orders totaled $426.83 million according to AMT - The Association For Manufacturing Technology. This total, as reported by companies participating in the USMTO program, was down 5.8 percent from May and down 5.7 percent when compared with the total of $452.75 million reported for June 2012. With a year-to-date total of $2,538.55 million, 2013 is down 5.7 percent compared with 2012.

Vehicle-Charging Company Warns About Prospects

August 12, 2013 2:09 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Ecotality Inc., which makes charging systems for electric vehicles, said Monday that it could be forced into a sale or bankruptcy filing "in the very near future" after disappointing sales and suspension of payments from the federal government. The company said that it hired a restructuring adviser to evaluate options including new financing or a possible sale.

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Lincoln Brand Introducing Dealers To Luxury Buyers

August 12, 2013 2:01 pm | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

 How to sell a Lincoln in 2013: Make the dealership smell like luxury. And lay out some wine and cheese. After decades of selling hulking Town Cars to retirees, Ford Motor Co. wants the Lincoln brand to appeal to younger, more discerning buyers. Lincoln unveiled the sleek MKZ sedan this spring, and six more models will follow. It purged underperforming dealerships and is prodding the rest to make expensive updates.

BlackBerry Weighs Putting Itself Up For Sale

August 12, 2013 10:18 am | by Rob Gillies, Associated Press | News | Comments

Struggling smartphone maker BlackBerry will consider selling itself. The company said Monday that its board has formed a special committee to explore "strategic alternatives" in hopes of boosting the adoption of its BlackBerry 10 smartphone. The company said its options could also include joint ventures, partnerships, or other moves.

China Indicators Suggest Slowdown Is Leveling Out

August 9, 2013 2:12 pm | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

China's factory output and auto sales accelerated in July, adding to signs a slump in the world's second-largest economy might be stabilizing. A decline in wholesale prices slowed, suggesting weak demand might be strengthening, according to figures released Friday. That added to earlier data showing July imports rebounded from the previous month's contraction.

U.S. Wholesale Stockpiles Fell In June

August 9, 2013 2:10 pm | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

U.S. wholesalers cut their stockpiles in June for a third straight month even as their sales rose again. Businesses may need to speed up restocking if demand continues to increase, a trend that could boost economic growth in the second half of the year.

Toyota: A Short Stint In Pole Position?

August 9, 2013 1:33 pm | by Reuters TV | Videos | Comments

Toyota's CEO and grandson of the company Akio Toyoda won't brake for anything, and he has been able to pull the company back from a series of misfortunes to help it retake its position as the world's number one carmaker. Toyota has innovated its way back to the top of the class, with bold designs and a weak yen boosting profit. But its export-dependence and weakness in Southeast Asia could see it quickly dethroned.

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Even As Sales Rise, Ford Says New Plants Unlikely

August 9, 2013 10:00 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

Even though U.S. auto sales are close to returning to pre-recession levels, don't expect to see a new Ford factory anytime soon. Jim Tetreault, Ford's North American manufacturing chief, says his mandate is to squeeze more production out of existing plants to avoid the high cost of new bricks and mortar. Some plants are operating near capacity.

GM To Keep Colorado, Canyon Names For New Trucks

August 8, 2013 2:16 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

General Motors will keep the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon names when it rolls out redesigned midsize pickup trucks next year. The new trucks will be markedly different from the current models, with the Colorado targeted toward people who spend time outdoors and the Canyon aimed at professional buyers, Chief Financial Officer Dan Ammann said Thursday at an auto industry conference.

Tesla Shares Jump On Narrowed 2Q Loss

August 8, 2013 2:01 pm | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

Electric car maker Tesla reported a narrower loss for the second quarter on Wednesday, sparking an after-hours rally in its stock. The Palo Alto, Calif., company reported after the close of trading on Wall Street that it lost $30.5 million, or 26 cents per share, in the April-June period. That compares with a loss of $105.6 million, or $1 per share, a year earlier.

Auto Industry: Young People Will Buy Cars Again

August 7, 2013 1:50 pm | by Dee-Ann Durbin, Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writers | News | Comments

The auto industry says people under 34 are gradually starting to buy cars again as their economic circumstances improve. After the Great Recession, sales of cars to young people dropped significantly. Fewer of them even bothered to get drivers licenses. Some experts surmised that the group lost interest in cars because of the prevalence of social media.

U.S. Trade Deficit Narrows To $34.2B In June

August 6, 2013 2:12 pm | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

The U.S. trade deficit narrowed sharply in June to its lowest level in more than 3 ½ years. Exports rose to all-time high and imports declined, signs that economic growth could be stronger than previously thought. The Commerce Department said Tuesday that the June deficit fell 22.4 percent to $34.2 billion.

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Spirit AeroSystems To Shed Oklahoma Operations

August 6, 2013 2:06 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Spirit AeroSystems Holdings said Tuesday that it plans to shed its operations in Oklahoma and postpone filing its second-quarter earnings report. Shares of the Wichita, Kan., aircraft parts maker fell 8 percent following the announcement before regaining some of the loss.

Chrysler Exec Says Next New Car To Be On Time

August 6, 2013 10:12 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

Chrysler's manufacturing chief said Monday that a new midsize car should hit dealerships on time next year, following costly delays with recent product launches. Vice President Mauro Pino said the new model, a sorely needed replacement for the aging Chrysler 200, should reach showrooms as scheduled in the first quarter. The new car is scheduled to reach dealerships sometime in the first quarter of 2014.

ISM: Manufacturing Surges Ahead

August 6, 2013 8:02 am | by Jon Minnick, Associate Editor, Manufacturing Business Technology | Articles | Comments

“It’s a great way to start the second half of 2013,” says Bradley J. Holcomb, CPSM, CPSD, chair of the ISM Business Survey Committee.  “I think it’s a very positive and well-balanced report in terms of all of the underlying metrics. Things are pointing in a very favorable direction right now.”

Obama Likely To Miss Goal Of Doubling Exports

August 5, 2013 10:22 am | by Tom Raum, Associated Press Writer | News | Comments

Back in January 2010, President Barack Obama set a lofty goal of doubling U.S. exports in five years. With just 18 months to go to 2015, that target seems to be slipping beyond reach and has vanished from White House talking points. Blame tepid U.S. manufacturing growth, the lingering weak global economy, and a stronger U.S. dollar, which makes it harder to sell American goods and services overseas.

Solid U.S. Job Gains Could Bolster 2nd-Half Growth

August 5, 2013 10:20 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

Robust hiring in July would mark a fourth straight month of solid gains, an encouraging sign for a U.S. economy that is still struggling with high unemployment. Economists predict that employers added 183,000 jobs — a figure that would show that businesses are growing more confident despite weak economic growth.

U.S. Auto Sales Up In July As Cars See Big Gains

August 1, 2013 3:09 pm | by Dee-Ann Durbin, Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writers | News | Comments

Pickup trucks led the charge in July, but strong sales of small cars show that demand for new vehicles is broad — and not slowing down. Car sales grew in the first six months of this year, but not at the blistering pace of trucks and SUVs. Through June, full-size pickups were up 22.5 percent over the year before, while cars were up 5 percent.

U.S. Factories Rebound With Best Growth In 2 Years

August 1, 2013 2:20 pm | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

U.S. factories revved up production, hired more workers and received a surge of new orders in July, helping them expand at the fastest pace in two years. The gains suggest manufacturing is rebounding and could provide a spark to economic growth.

China Manufacturing Weak As Small Firms Hurt More

August 1, 2013 2:15 pm | by Kelvin Chan, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Chinese manufacturing remained weak last month with small and midsized private businesses suffering a bigger share of the pain, two surveys indicated Thursday, adding to an uncertain outlook for the world's No. 2 economy. The official China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing's manufacturing index strengthened slightly to 50.3 from June's 50.1.

Dell's Board Deals Blow To CEO's $24.4B Buyout Bid

August 1, 2013 2:08 pm | by Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

Dell's board rejected CEO Michael Dell's attempt to change the voting rules for his bid to buy the slumping personal computer maker, a decision that is likely to doom the deal. But the endangered buyout could still get a reprieve if Michael Dell and his allies accept a counterproposal that would extend the voting period for a third time and allow a bigger pool of shareholders to cast ballots.

U.S. Economy May Need Continued Fed Support

August 1, 2013 12:57 pm | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

A key government report and a statement from the Federal Reserve made clear Wednesday that the U.S. economy still needs help. The economy grew at a lackluster 1.7 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter, the Commerce Department said. That was better than a revised 1.1 percent rate for the first quarter but still far too sluggish to quickly reduce unemployment.

Gun Maker Sturm Ruger Reports Soaring Sales

August 1, 2013 12:52 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Sturm, Ruger & Co. Inc. said Wednesday that second-quarter profit soared 79 percent on higher sales. The company's shares, which had already nearly doubled this year, climbed again in after-hours trading. The gun maker credited the "current political environment" for creating strong demand for guns.

A Small Business Star To Be Born This Super Bowl

July 31, 2013 2:23 pm | by Joyce M. Rosenberg, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

A small business star will be born during a commercial break in Super Bowl XLVIII. A company yet to be selected will have its own 30-second ad during the game, giving it the kind of exposure usually reserved for mega-brands like Budweiser and Chevrolet.

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