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Daily industrial news and top headlines for plant and maintenance managers

American Crystal Sugar To Default On USDA Loan

October 1, 2013 2:11 pm | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

American Crystal Sugar will default on a government loan of $71.2 million under a program that provides relief when a glut of sugar on the market depresses prices. David Berg, the company's president and CEO, said that forfeiting the sugar put up as collateral was the best option, given the very low prices that sugar is fetching.

Government Shutdown Begins

October 1, 2013 10:18 am | by Andrew Taylor, Associated Press | News | Comments

Congress plunged the nation into a partial government shutdown Tuesday as a protracted dispute over President Barack Obama's signature health care law reached a boiling point, forcing some 800,000 federal workers off the job. Obama readied a midday statement to the nation as Democrats and Republicans maintained a blame-each-other duel on Capitol Hill.

Eurozone Unemployment 'May Have Peaked'

October 1, 2013 10:10 am | by Pan Pylas, Associated Press | News | Comments

The eurozone's labor market appears to have stabilized, official figures indicated Tuesday, another sign that the eurozone economy is recovering from its longest-ever recession. Though Eurostat, the EU's statistics office, said the unemployment rate across the 17-member eurozone held steady at 12 percent in August, it found the number of people out of work fell for the third month running.

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Global Study: World Not Ready For Aging Population

September 30, 2013 2:17 pm | by Kristen Gelineau, Associated Press | News | Comments

The world is aging so fast that most countries are not prepared to support their swelling numbers of elderly people, according to a global study going out Tuesday by the United Nations and an elder rights group. The report ranks the social and economic well-being of elders in 91 countries, with Sweden coming out on top and Afghanistan at the bottom.

Shutdown And Debt Ceiling Loom Large

September 30, 2013 1:49 pm | by CNN Money | Videos | Comments

The sequester and forced budget cuts have been squeezing budgets and sending home federal workers all year. Now, October is a key month as the federal government has been unable to pass a budget or raise the debt ceiling. The consequences of failing to do either could be damaging to the economy. 

Photo Of The Day: Car Buffs And Vintage Chevys

September 30, 2013 10:25 am | by Grant Schulte, Associated Press | News | Comments

A handful of barely driven vintage Chevrolets fetched more than half a million dollars on Saturday at an auction that drew thousands of car buffs from around the world to a small northeast Nebraska town. Bidders and gawkers crowded shoulder-to-shoulder for the auction in a muddy field just west of Pierce, a town of about 1,800. 

China Manufacturing Growth Slower Than Expected

September 30, 2013 10:22 am | by The Associated Press | News | Comments

Chinese manufacturing activity ticked up more slowly than expected in September. A survey by HSBC Corp. released Monday showed that manufacturing activity in the world's No. 2 economy expanded slightly this month, rising to 50.2 from August's 50.1. The index uses a 100-point scale on which numbers below 50 indicate contraction.

5 Quick Questions: BRIC Deceleration

September 30, 2013 8:02 am | by Jeff Reinke, Editorial Director | Articles | Comments

A closer look at the factors contributing to slowing growth rates in Brazil, Russia, India and China offers insight on the next collection of emerging markets, as well as the established economies picking up the pace. For quite some time the subset of countries known as the BRICs have been the primary targets of U.S. manufacturers looking for either less expensive production settings or a new market in which to grow.

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Toyota Exec: Pent-Up Demand For New Cars Will End

September 27, 2013 2:17 pm | by Tom Krisher, AP Auto Writer | News | Comments

The boom in sales of new cars in the U.S. has been fueled by consumers replacing vehicles they kept through the recession. But a top auto industry executive says that the pent-up demand likely will be satisfied by late next year. Jim Lentz, Toyota's North American CEO, said demand for new cars from owners of older models could dry up sometime late in 2014. 

BlackBerry Posts Loss, Steep Revenue Drop For 2Q

September 27, 2013 2:10 pm | by Rob Gillies, Associated Press | News | Comments

BlackBerry said Friday that it is committed to completing a series of major changes quickly after posting a nearly billion-dollar loss and a 45 percent drop in revenue for the second quarter. The troubled smartphone company reported a loss of $965 million and revenue of $1.6 billion, in line with what it warned when it surprised the market by releasing dismal earnings projections last week and announcing 4,500 layoffs.

Ahead Of Talks, Feds Find Millions For Broke Detroit

September 27, 2013 10:11 am | by Corey Williams, Associated Press | News | Comments

The federal fingerprint in efforts to fix Detroit is growing larger as the Obama administration has found millions of dollars in grant money to help the bankrupt city hire more police and firefighters, and clear out blighted neighborhoods. But considering the Motor City is at least $18B in debt, it will take a far larger infusion of cash or historic deals with bond holders, insurance companies and other creditors to correct the problem.

Japan Car Parts Makers In Price-Fixing Plea

September 26, 2013 2:29 pm | by Pete Yost, Associated Press | News | Comments

Nine Japanese auto parts manufacturers and two of their executives will plead guilty and pay $740 million in criminal fines for conspiring to fix the prices of more than 30 products sold to many of the world's largest automakers operating in the U.S., the Justice Department announced Thursday.

U.S. Unemployment Aid Applications Near 6-Year Low

September 26, 2013 2:27 pm | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell 5,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 305,000, the second-lowest level in six years. Steady declines in applications show that very few companies are laying off workers. The Labor Department said Thursday that the less volatile four-week average declined 7,000 to 308,000, the lowest since June 2007.

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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.

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.

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.

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