Like their peers in other sectors, industrial manufacturing CEOs are much less worried about the global economy than last year, although exchange rate volatility and energy costs are still big concerns.
China's manufacturing weakened in February and employers cut staff at the fastest rate in nearly five years, a survey showed Monday, adding to signs growth in the world's second-largest economy is cooling.
Nissan says its sales were up almost 16 percent to just over 115,000 despite repeated winter storms that struck much of the country. Chrysler sales rose 11 percent to nearly 155,000.
The U.S. economy grew at a 2.4 percent annual rate last quarter, sharply less than first thought, in part because consumers didn't spend as much as initially estimated. Severe winter weather is expected to further slow the economy in the current quarter.
The Labor Department says the four-week average was unchanged at 338,250. Applications are a rough proxy for layoffs. The average is not far above pre-recession levels, a sign companies are laying off few workers.
American businesses ordered fewer durable manufactured goods in January, cutting demand for planes, autos, and machines. But a key category that reflects business investment rebounded on the strength of demand for electronics and fabricated metals.
Europe's largest aerospace group, previously known as EADS, said it would increase production of its best-selling A320 jet family to 46 aircraft a month by the second quarter of 2016 from the current 42, echoing plans by rival Boeing to reach towards 47 a month.
Shares of Tesla Motors Inc. surged 16 percent Tuesday after a Wall Street analyst told investors that Tesla could shake up the electric utility sector as well as the auto industry.
Their motivation is clear: Europe's auto sales slumped last year to their lowest level since 1995, forcing French brands to join U.S. and European rivals in looking to China to drive revenues. But the timing is awkward.
Japan's trade deficit surged to a monthly record of 2.8 trillion yen ($27.4 billion) in January as imports jumped 25 percent, underscoring the challenge the country faces in restoring export-driven growth.
Longtime Coca-Cola Chief Financial Officer Gary Fayard will retire in May as the company ramps up its cost-cutting efforts. The world's largest drink maker is trying to keep up with shifting consumer tastes as volume declines in North America reached 1 percent in the most recent quarter.
An $800 million Honda plant opening Friday in the central state of Guanajuato will produce about 200,000 Fit hatchbacks a year, helping push total Mexican car exports to the U.S. to 1.7 million in 2014, roughly 200,000 more than Japan, consulting firm IHS Automotive says.
At over 12 million jobs nationwide, manufacturing employment is now the highest it has been since 2009. The sector recovered handsomely from the setbacks it had faced earlier in the second and third quarters and is poised to start the new year on a strong footing.
China's economic activity has slowed steadily as the government tries to reduce reliance on investment in industry and infrastructure and encourage more sustainable growth based on domestic consumption.
This has been the snowiest winter nationally in four years and the coldest in three years, costing businesses of all sizes and their employees an estimated $15 billion that can't be made up, according to research from Planalytics, which analyzes the economic impact of weather.
Carlsberg says beer sales are likely to fall this year in western Europe and Russia, but continue to grow in Asia. The Copenhagen-based group says its fourth-quarter net sales fell slightly to 15.7 billion kroner ($2.9 billion) as overall beer volumes dropped 3 percent.
Without solid numbers, many have assumed that most of the offshored jobs go to developing countries where workers are paid near-poverty wages in less than ideal working conditions. However, the researchers said public fear that offshoring to lower-cost countries is putting downward pressure on U.S. jobs may be overblown.
Boosting the federal minimum wage as President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats are proposing would increase earnings for more than 16.5 million people by 2016 but also cut employment by roughly 500,000 jobs, Congress' nonpartisan budget analyst said Tuesday.
The company, which also makes Cadbury, Chips Ahoy, Ritz, and Trident gum, said its core revenue for the final three months of the year rose 2.5 percent, primarily as a result of higher volume.
Renault says its earnings were more than halved last year even as car sales began to rebound, as heavy restructuring costs ate into the French car maker's profits.
Harsh winter weather led to a steep drop in U.S. factory output in January. Manufacturers made fewer cars and trucks, appliances, furniture, and carpeting, as the recent cold spell ended five straight months of increased production.
U.S. businesses restocked their shelves and warehouses at a faster pace in December, but sales slowed, a cautionary sign for the economy. The Commerce Department says inventories rose 0.5 percent after a 0.4 percent increase in November. Sales growth fell to just 0.1 percent, from 0.7 percent in November.
Merger and acquisition (M&A) activity in the industrial manufacturing sector increased in the second half of 2013, with a 20 percent uptick in activity in the final six months of the year compared to the first half, according to Assembling Value, an annual analysis of global deal activity in the industrial manufacturing industry by PwCUS.
December U.S. cutting tool consumption totaled $138 million, according to the U.S. Cutting Tool Institute and The Association For Manufacturing Technology. This total was down 11.7 percent from November’s total and down 3.9 percent from December 2012.
Stock markets have sunk after signs of weaker growth in the United States, Europe, and China. Turmoil in developing countries has further spooked investors. The upheaval has renewed doubts about the Federal Reserve's next steps.