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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

China's Imports Weak In Negative Sign For Recovery

October 15, 2012 10:08 am | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

China's import growth recovered slightly in September but was weak, suggesting that a recovery for the world's second-largest economy from a painful slump has yet to take hold. Imports rose 2.4 percent, an improvement over August's unexpected 2.6 percent contraction but well below the government's 10 percent target for overall trade growth this year, customs data showed Saturday.

Report: PCs Bound For 1st Sales Decline Since 2001

October 12, 2012 2:31 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

A new report predicts worldwide sales of personal computers are bound for their first annual decline in 11 years. The forecast issued Wednesday by the research firm IHS iSuppli projects that nearly 349 million PCs will be shipped this year. That would be a 1 percent decrease from nearly 353 million PC shipments last year.

Rio Tinto Looks To Cut Costs In Tough Global Market

October 12, 2012 2:28 pm | by Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press | News | Comments

Aluminum giant Rio Tinto Alcan is studying options, including whether to seek the reopening of collective agreements, as it moves to reduce costs over the next 12 to 18 months to offset the challenges of a tough global market. The Montreal-based aluminum division has provided cost reduction targets to each of its facilities around the world, but won't release them publicly.

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KMG Chemicals 4Q Net Income More Than Triples

October 12, 2012 2:24 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

KMG Chemicals' fiscal fourth-quarter net income more than tripled, as it lowered expenses and saw sales strengthen in its electronic chemical division. The Houston company earned $3.9 million, or 33 cents per share, for the three months ended in July 31. That's up sharply from $1.2 million, or 10 cents per share, in the year-earlier period.

India Industrial Output Rose 2.7 Percent In August

October 12, 2012 2:22 pm | by Erika Kinetz, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Industrial production in India rose 2.7 percent in August, more than expected on a rebound in mining activity, though investment still appears weak. Markets took the news in stride Friday, suggesting that investors believe the numbers will do little to convince the central back to cut interest rates when it meets later this month.

Southern Auto Industry Wary Of Mexican Competition

October 12, 2012 10:14 am | by Erik Schelzig, Associated Press | News | Comments

Southern states accustomed to luring investments away from the Midwest are casting a wary eye to competition from Mexico. Gov. Haslam was asked at the Southern Automotive Conference about what steps are being taken to keep investments from moving abroad, especially in light of a decision by German automaker Audi to build its first North American plant in Mexico.

Solar Panel Makers Gain On Trade Ruling

October 12, 2012 10:12 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Shares of solar panel makers reacted on Thursday after the Obama administration upheld tariffs on Chinese solar panels. The U.S. government said China has subsidized companies that are flooding the U.S. with low-cost panels. In response the U.S. imposed tariffs ranging from 18 percent to nearly 250 percent.

U.S. Wholesale Prices Jump In September

October 12, 2012 10:09 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

A second month of sharp gains in gasoline costs drove wholesale prices higher in September. But outside of the surge in energy, prices were well contained. Wholesale prices rose 1.1 percent in September following a 1.7 percent gain in August which had been the largest one-month increase in more than three years, the Labor Department said Friday.

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U.S. Trade Deficit Rose To $44.2B In August

October 11, 2012 2:17 pm | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

The U.S. trade deficit widened in August as exports fell to the lowest level in six months, a worrisome sign that a slowing global economy is cutting into demand for U.S. goods. The deficit increased to $44.2 billion in August, the biggest gap since May and a 4.1 percent increase from July, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

U.S. Job Openings Dipped In August From July

October 10, 2012 2:26 pm | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

U.S. employers advertised slightly fewer jobs in August than July, while they filled the most positions in three months, offering a mixed signal on the job market. The Labor Department said Wednesday that job openings dropped by 32,000 to 3.56 million in August. July's openings were also revised lower.

China Auto Sales Fall As Japanese Brands Shunned

October 10, 2012 2:22 pm | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

China's auto sales shrank in September as a territorial dispute with Tokyo prompted buyers to avoid Japanese brands, hurting already weakening demand. Sales of passenger vehicles declined 0.3 percent from a year earlier to 1.32 million units, the state-sanctioned China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said Wednesday.

Distributor POV: Market Leaders

October 9, 2012 3:40 pm | by Anna Wells, Executive Editor, IMPO | Articles | Comments

Industrial Distribution, IMPO’s sister brand reaching the distribution channel, has been around for 102 years and published its annual Big 50 List for much of that time. Seen as a barometer of the health of the industry, this annual top 50 ranks industrial distributors based on sales revenue, while also creating benchmarks and increasing competitive knowledge for a highly fragmented industry.

RIM Shares Down After BB10 Late Launch Announced

October 9, 2012 2:14 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

RIM has said that BlackBerry 10, the new operating system, will launch in the first three months of 2013. Peter Misek at Jefferies & Co. said while he was hoping for a January launch, March now looks more likely, which is after RIM's fiscal quarter ends in February.

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China Consumers Spurn Japan Cars Amid Islands Row

October 9, 2012 10:38 am | by Yuri Kageyama, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Sales of Japanese vehicles nosedived in China during September as anti-Japanese sentiment flared over a territorial dispute that threatens to hobble what was a booming business relationship between Japan and its biggest export market. Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday that sales of new vehicles in China dropped 48.9 percent in September from a year earlier.

Workforce Trends 2012: Creating Qualified Jobseekers

October 9, 2012 8:52 am | by Fluke | Articles | Comments

The outlook for technical jobs has turned positive. According to The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic’s Occupational Outlook Handbook 2012-2013, growth in HVAC and electrical jobs will grow at two to three times the average growth forecasted and industrial plant technician jobs will grow at the average rate of 11 percent.

U.S. Manufacturing Technology Orders On The Rise

October 8, 2012 1:35 pm | by The Association For Manufacturing Technology | News | Comments

August U.S. manufacturing technology orders totaled $470.44 million according to AMT. This total, as reported by companies participating in the USMTO program, was up 3.4 percent from July but down 4.7 percent when compared with the total of $493.60 million reported for August 2011.

ISM: Manufacturing Is Back On Track

October 8, 2012 8:15 am | by Mike Schmidt. Associate Editor, Manufacturing Business Technology | Articles | Comments

The manufacturing sector is back on track – at least for now. Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in September following three straight months of slight contraction, according to the latest Manufacturing ISM Report on Business. The September PMI registered 51.5 percent, an increase of 1.9 percentage points when compared to the August reading of 49.6 percent.

U.S. Unemployment Falls To A 44-Month Low

October 5, 2012 2:02 pm | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent last month, dropping below 8 percent for the first time in nearly four years and giving President Barack Obama a potential boost with the election a month away. The rate dropped from 8.1 percent because the number of people who said they were employed jumped by 873,000 — an encouraging sign for an economy that's been struggling to create enough jobs.

HP CEO's Turnaround Message Flops On Wall Street

October 5, 2012 9:54 am | by Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

Coming off the biggest quarterly loss in Hewlett-Packard's history, CEO Meg Whitman braced investors for even more trouble ahead as she methodically tries to fix a wide range of longstanding problems. Those challenges will be compounded by a feeble economy that Whitman expects to weaken even more during the next year.

U.S. Factory Orders Fall On Decline In Aircraft

October 4, 2012 2:42 pm | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

Orders to U.S. factories fell in August from July, mostly because of a sharp drop in volatile aircraft orders. The decline offset an increase in orders that reflect corporate investment plans. The Commerce Department said Thursday that factory orders dropped 5.2 percent in August, the biggest decline in more than three years.

Slowdown In China Saps Oil, Copper Prices

October 4, 2012 2:34 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Prices for energy and copper fell Wednesday following the latest signs that China's economy is slowing down. China, which is a huge importer of basic materials, reported that its services sector expanded at a slower pace in September. Days earlier, the country also reported a slowdown in manufacturing.

Survey: U.S. Businesses Added 162K Jobs In September

October 3, 2012 2:22 pm | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

A private survey shows that U.S. businesses added fewer workers in September than August, a sign that slow growth may be holding back hiring. Payroll processor ADP said Wednesday that companies added 162,000 jobs last month. That's below August's total of 189,000, which was revised lower.

Toyota Returns To Top 10 Best Global Brands

October 3, 2012 2:20 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Toyota Motor Corp. returned to the top 10 in the Best Global Brands rankings for 2012, seizing top spot among global automakers, a U.S. consulting firm said Wednesday. The Japanese automaker came 10th in the annual rankings, up from 11th in 2011, according to Interbrand Corp., which analyzes global companies' financial data to determine their brand value.

HP CEO Warns Company's Earnings Will Fall In 2013

October 3, 2012 2:16 pm | by Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

Hewlett-Packard Co. is expecting earnings to fall by more than 10 percent next year as CEO Meg Whitman struggles to fix a wide range of problems in a weakening economy. Whitman delivered the disappointing forecast Wednesday at a meeting that the ailing Silicon Valley pioneer held for analysts and investors.

Auto Sales, Home Prices Help Buoy Weak Economy

October 3, 2012 10:12 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, Dee-Ann Durbin, Tom Krisher, AP Business Writers | News | Comments

The U.S. economy is looking more resilient, thanks in part to encouraging signs for the two most expensive purchases most Americans make: cars and homes. Cheap loans and a bounty of fuel-efficient models enticed people to buy new vehicles at a brisk pace last month. And the nation enjoyed another year-over-year surge in home prices in August — a sign that the housing industry is making a sustained comeback.

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