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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

U.S. Economy Adds 96K Jobs, Rate Falls To 8.1 Percent

September 7, 2012 10:07 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

U.S. employers added 96,000 jobs last month, a weak figure that could slow the momentum President Barack Obama hoped to gain from his speech Thursday night to the Democratic National Convention. The unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent in July. But that was only because more people gave up looking for work. People who are out of work are counted as unemployed only if they're looking for a job.

Small, Medium-Sized Manufacturers Project Strong Second Half 2012

September 7, 2012 9:39 am | by Prime Advantage | Articles | Comments

Prime Advantage has announced the findings of its tenth semi-annual Group Outlook Survey, revealing projections and top concerns of its member companies for the second half of 2012. The majority of surveyed manufacturers report healthy revenue projections, strong hiring, and capital spending plans. However, for a small portion of respondents these plans may see delays due to uncertainty about the results of the federal elections.

Investors Cautious Ahead Of ECB Meeting

September 5, 2012 2:04 pm | by Carlo Piovano, Associated Press | News | Comments

Global markets fluctuated Wednesday as investors weighed poor economic data against expectations that the European Central Bank will announce a plan to support financially weak countries in the 17-member eurozone. ECB President Mario Draghi is expected to reveal on Thursday the details of a new bond-buying program intended to bring down the high borrowing costs of Spain and Italy.

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Global Manufacturing Weakness Hurts U.S. Factories

September 5, 2012 10:30 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

Manufacturing is weakening around the globe, a trend that is weighing on U.S. growth just as the presidential campaign enters its final stretch. U.S. factory activity shrank for a third straight month in August, according to a survey by the Institute for Supply Management released Tuesday.

Gadget Makers Jockey For Edge In Holiday Lineups

September 4, 2012 2:15 pm | by Anick Jesdanun, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

Think of it as the opening act at a concert: Nokia, Motorola and Amazon are expected to unveil new mobile devices this week before attention turns to a new iPhone and possibly a smaller iPad from Apple. Makers of consumer electronics are refreshing their products for the holiday shopping season.

Survey: U.S. Manufacturing Shrinks For Third Month

September 4, 2012 2:12 pm | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

U.S. factory activity shrank for the third straight month in August as new orders, production and employment all fell. The report adds to other signs that manufacturing is struggling around the globe. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said Tuesday its index of manufacturing activity ticked down to 49.6.

Olympic Ads Help Boost GM Sales

September 4, 2012 2:10 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

General Motors says its U.S. sales rose 10 percent last month as advertising on the Olympics and a Chevrolet money-back guarantee program drew more customers. GM rebounded from a bad July to sell almost 241,000 cars and trucks in August. Chevy brand sales were up more than 11 percent, and Chevy car sales rose 25 percent. But SUV sales tumbled in a month with rising gasoline prices.

Nation's 'Carpet Capital' Struggles To Recover

September 4, 2012 2:04 pm | by Ashley Hopkinson, Associated Press | News | Comments

Factories dot the highway and carpet retailers and mills line the main street through this town nestled in the north Georgia foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, making clear why Dalton was dubbed Carpet Capital of the World. Many of those businesses are shuttered now, hinting at one of the city's more dubious distinctions: The city has lost more jobs per capita in the past year than any other in the U.S.

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Chrysler Sales Rise On Demand For Pickups

September 4, 2012 10:28 am | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

Chrysler's U.S. sales rose 14 percent in August on strong demand for Ram pickup trucks. The Ram, which had its best August in five years, helped Chrysler sell more than 148,000 vehicles last month. The results are a sign that car and truck sales will remain strong despite consumers' worries about the economy.

Bernanke: With Unemployment High, Fed Can Do More

September 4, 2012 10:25 am | by Paul Wiseman, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

Chairman Ben Bernanke sent a clear message Friday that the Federal Reserve will do more to help the still-struggling U.S. economy. His remarks left two questions: What exactly will the Fed do? And when? Bernanke described the U.S. economy's health as "far from satisfactory" and noted that the unemployment rate, now 8.3 percent, hasn't declined since January.

U.S. Factory Orders Rose 2.8 Percent In July

August 31, 2012 11:53 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

Orders to U.S. companies rose in July, reflecting a surge in demand for autos and commercial aircraft. But in a troubling sign of manufacturing weakness, a key orders category that tracks business investment plans fell by the largest amount in eight months.

Ford On Track To Beat Toyota With Best-Selling Car

August 31, 2012 9:58 am | by Dee-Ann Durbin, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

Ford says its Focus small car is on track to become the best-selling car in the world this year, trumping the Toyota Corolla. Ford sold 489,616 Focus sedans and hatchbacks worldwide in the first half of 2012. That was almost 27,000 more than the perennial best-seller, the Toyota Corolla.

Japan's Industrial Output Resumes Slide

August 31, 2012 9:56 am | by Malcolm Foster, Associated Press | News | Comments

Japanese industrial production resumed its slide, falling 1.2 percent in July from June amid slumping global demand, the government said Friday. It's a disappointing sign for the world's third-biggest economy and suggests that any sort of recovery is sputtering.

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Chevy Volt To Break Monthly Sales Record In August

August 30, 2012 2:12 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

General Motors says sales of its Chevrolet Volt electric car will break a monthly record in August. The company says it already has sold more than 2,500 Volts this month with two days left. The old record was 2,000 in March. A spokeswoman says about one-third of the sales are in California, where Volt owners can drive alone in carpool lanes. She says sales are growing in other states.

Chinese Solar Firms Sink As Bad News Rolls In

August 30, 2012 2:10 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Two major Chinese solar panel makers reported dismal second-quarter results and lowered their shipment forecasts Wednesday, the latest blows to an industry in turmoil. JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd.'s second-quarter loss widened from a year earlier, the company said Wednesday. Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd. swung to a net loss after posting net income in the same quarter a year earlier.

China's Wen Calls For Action On Europe Debt

August 30, 2012 2:09 pm | by Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer | News | Comments

Expressing alarm at Europe's debt problems, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao called on Greece, Spain and Italy to embrace budget cuts and get their finances in order after meeting Thursday with visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Merkel was in Beijing for talks aimed at boosting trade and allaying Chinese fears about Europe's heavy government debts.

Official: China's Growth Stabilizing At Slow Pace

August 29, 2012 2:07 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Government efforts to reverse China's economic slump are taking effect and growth is "stabilizing at a slow pace," the head of the country's planning agency said Wednesday. The statement by the minister in charge of the National Development and Reform Commission came amid a flurry of mixed signals that show some activity picking up but export orders and corporate profits weakening.

JA Solar Plunges As 2Q Loss Grows, Outlook Cut

August 29, 2012 2:04 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd.'s second-quarter loss widened from a year earlier, the company said Wednesday, as it became the latest victim of turmoil in the Chinese solar panel industry. JA also lowered its outlook for the year, and its stock, which trades as American depositary shares on the Nasdaq, plunged nearly 9 percent in afternoon trading.

U.S. Economy Grew At 1.7 Percent Rate In 2Q

August 29, 2012 10:15 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

The U.S. economy grew at a tepid 1.7 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter, suggesting growth will stay weak in the second half of the year. Slightly stronger consumer spending and greater exports were the main reasons the Commerce Department reported Wednesday that growth was better than its initial estimate of 1.5 percent.

Samsung Verdict May Benefit Nokia, Shares Climb

August 28, 2012 2:24 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Shares of Nokia Corp. surged on Monday after a Wall Street analyst said that the Finnish phone maker could benefit from the $1 billion patent verdict against Samsung. The decision could delay technology developments for devices that, like Samsung phones, run Google Inc.'s Android operating system. That could boost Nokia's line of Windows Phone-based smartphones.

Chinese Automaker BYD 1H Profit Down 94 Percent

August 28, 2012 2:22 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Chinese auto and battery maker BYD Co. says first-half profit plunged 94 percent as it faced tougher competition in the world's biggest auto market. BYD said late Monday that profit sank to 16 million ($2.5 million) or 0.01 yuan (0.02 US cents) per share on a slight dip in revenue to 21.4 billion yuan. In the same period last year, BYD reported profit of 275 million yuan or 0.12 yuan per share.

Most Laid-Off U.S. Workers Take Pay Cuts In New Jobs

August 27, 2012 10:11 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

The U.S. economic recovery hasn't felt much like one even for people who managed to find new jobs after being laid off. Most of them have had to settle for less pay. Only 56 percent of Americans laid off from January 2009 through December 2011 had found jobs by the start of this year, the Labor Department said Friday. More than half of them took jobs with lower pay. One-third took pay cuts of 20 percent or more.

Equipment Lease Finance Industry Confidence Neutral In August

August 27, 2012 8:06 am | by Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation | Articles | Comments

The August 2012 MCI-EFI reports a qualitative assessment of both the prevailing business conditions and expectations for the future as reported by key executives from the $628B equipment finance sector. Overall, confidence in the equipment finance market is 50.2, down from the July index of 51.5, reflecting ongoing industry concerns over economic, regulatory, and political uncertainty.

Applications For U.S. Unemployment Aid Up Slightly

August 24, 2012 2:13 pm | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

The number of people seeking first-time unemployment benefits rose a slight 4,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 372,000, evidence that the job market's recovery remains modest and uneven. The Labor Department said Thursday that the four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased 3,750 to 368,000.

Drop In Key Durable Goods Orders Shows Weakness

August 24, 2012 10:12 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

Signs that U.S. manufacturing is faltering emerged from a report Friday that orders for long-lasting factory goods, excluding the volatile transportation category, fell in July for the fourth time in five months. Overall orders for durable goods rose a seasonally adjusted 4.2 percent in July, the Commerce Department said.

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