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Daily news and top headlines for manufacturing professionals

Unemployment Bill Stalled Again In Senate

February 7, 2014 8:01 am | News | Comments

Republicans have blocked legislation from advancing in the Senate to restore benefits for the long-term unemployed. It's the second time this year that Democrats have sought to move the bill along, and they say they will try again.    

Retail Sales Expected To Improve In 2014

February 6, 2014 4:33 pm | News | Comments

The National Retail Federation's cautiously optimistic forecast on Thursday comes as stores are still reeling from a difficult holiday season where they had to discount heavily to get shoppers to buy. That weakness has continued through January as retailers have had to deal with a series of winter storms that have kept shoppers at home.

Applications For U.S. Jobless Aid Fall To 331K

February 6, 2014 12:49 pm | by Josh Boak, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

The number of people applying for U.S. unemployment benefits declined 20,000 last week to 331,000, suggesting that Americans are facing fewer layoffs and better job prospects. The Labor Department said the four-week average, a less volatile measure, ticked up 250 to 334,000.

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U.S. Productivity Grew At 3.2 Percent Rate In 4Q

February 6, 2014 10:44 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

Productivity grew at an annual rate of 3.2 percent in the October-December period, down slightly from a 3.6 percent growth rate in the third quarter, the Labor Department reported Thursday. Labor costs fell at a 1.6 percent rate in the fourth quarter after an even bigger 2 percent rate of decline in the third quarter.

Wider Trade Gap May Mean Slower 4Q Economic Growth

February 6, 2014 8:58 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

Analysts said the larger-than-expected trade deficit for December would likely reduce estimates of growth in the October-December quarter. The government had initially estimated fourth-quarter growth at a 3.2 percent annual rate.     

ISM: Extreme Weather Cools Down Manufacturing

February 5, 2014 11:50 am | by Jon Minnick, Associate Editor, Manufacturing Business Technology | Articles | Comments

Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in January for the eighth consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 56th consecutive month, say the nation’s supply executives in the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business.

Survey: Companies Add 175,000 Jobs In January

February 5, 2014 8:38 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

Payroll processor ADP says companies added 175,000 jobs last month. That's down from 227,000 in December, which was revised lower. But it was much better than the government's official figure of just 74,000 new jobs in December.    

U.S. Plastics Manufacturing Growth Continues

February 4, 2014 4:16 pm | by SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association | News | Comments

SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association, which represents the nation’s third largest manufacturing industry, supports President Obama’s efforts to create jobs and strengthen the middle class by expanding the economy and negotiating sensible trade agreements.

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Silicon Valley Economy Back At Dot-Com Era Highs

February 4, 2014 4:07 pm | by Martha Mendoza, AP National Writer | News | Comments

The region added nearly 47,000 jobs in 2013, up 3 percent over the previous year, and the total number of jobs has surpassed pre-recession levels. Many are high wage jobs — 45 percent of households now earn more than $100,000, and per capita income is above $70,000 a year, much higher than the state average of about $44,000.

U.S. Deficit To Drop To $514B, Lowest Of Obama Years

February 4, 2014 12:21 pm | by Andrew Taylor, Associated Press | News | Comments

The U.S. budget deficit is set to fall to $514 billion this year, down substantially from last year and the lowest level by far since President Barack Obama took office five years ago, a congressional report said Tuesday.     

U.S. Factory Orders Down 1.5 Percent In December

February 4, 2014 11:18 am | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

Orders to U.S. factories fell 1.5 percent in December, the biggest drop since July, with much of the weakness coming from a plunge in aircraft orders, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. Orders had risen 1.5 percent in November after a 0.5 percent October decrease.

MAPI: January Factory Slowdown 'Worrisome'

February 4, 2014 9:38 am | News | Comments

“While U.S. manufacturing continued its growth into the new year, survey data from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) showed that the pace of factory activity slowed considerably. The overall Index fell by 5.2 percentage points from 56.5 in December to 51.3 in January, still signaling overall output advances but at a far more muted pace."

How Outsourcing Went Horribly Wrong

February 3, 2014 3:16 pm | by Alan Nicol, Executive Member, AlanNicolSolutions | Blogs | Comments

There is much debate over the effectiveness of the strategy, the affect it has had on “American” brand quality, and the affect it is having on the U.S. economy and its ability to pull out of the current recession.        

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U.S. Factories Expanded At Much Slower Pace In Jan.

February 3, 2014 10:39 am | by Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

U.S. manufacturing barely expanded last month as factories cut back sharply on production, and new orders plunged. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said Monday that its index of manufacturing activity fell to 51.3 in January from 56.5 in the previous month.

U.S. Consumer Spending Up 0.4 Percent In December

January 31, 2014 12:47 pm | by Martin Crutsinger, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

Americans increased their spending at a solid pace for the second straight month in December even though their income was flat. Consumer spending rose 0.4 percent in December, compared with November when spending had increased an even stronger 0.6 percent, the Commerce Department reported Friday.

Obama Asks CEOs For Help Hiring Long-Term Jobless

January 31, 2014 11:18 am | by Josh Lederman, Associated Press | News | Comments

CEOs from companies like Apple, Walmart, Visa and Boeing are heading to the White House on Friday to deliver commitments to do their part. Although the unemployment rate has declined to 6.7 percent, long-term joblessness in the U.S. remains a major problem.

SE Mich. PMI: January Rebound After Year-End Low

January 31, 2014 10:56 am | by The Institute for Supply Management - Southeast Michigan | News | Comments

The Southeast Michigan Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) for January is 52.3, up from 50.6 in December, as both the Production and New Order indexes rebounded after a seasonal, year-end low. A PMI value above 50 generally suggests economic growth.

Applications For Jobless Benefits Rise To 348K

January 30, 2014 8:47 am | News | Comments

Weekly applications for U.S. unemployment benefits rose 19,000 last week to 348,000, the highest in about a month. But the broader trend in applications remains low. The Labor Department says that the four-week average, a less volatile measure, increased just 750 to 333,000. The increase follows three weeks of declines.

U.S. Economy Grows At 3.2 Percent Rate In 4Q

January 30, 2014 8:44 am | News | Comments

The U.S. economy grew at a 3.2 percent annual rate in the October-December quarter on the strength of the strongest consumer spending in three years, an encouraging sign for 2014. The fourth-quarter increase followed a 4.1 percent growth rate in the July-September quarter, when the economy was boosted by a buildup in business stockpiles.

IBM, Texas A&M Will Collaborate On Research

January 29, 2014 12:00 pm | News | Comments

IBM and Texas A&M University System will be collaborating on wide-ranging research. The Armonk, N.Y. based company and the university announced the agreement on Wednesday. The work will focus on energy, animal diseases and global food supplies, among other things.

AAM On SOTU: Rosy Picture, Slow Progress On Manufacturing

January 29, 2014 11:12 am | by The Alliance For American Manufacturing (AAM) | News | Comments

"This is the third consecutive State of the Union in which there has been a strong rhetorical focus on manufacturing, and that’s welcome. But the progress, despite the rosy picture painted by the President, has been painfully slow. And in some cases, such as the trade deficit with China, we’ve seen backsliding."

ITIF On SOTU: Good News On Institutes, More Tax Change Needed

January 29, 2014 9:25 am | by Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) | News | Comments

Robert Atkinson, President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), responded to the 2014 State of the Union address by praising the announcement of six new manufacturing innovation institutes as well as the President’s call to roll back sequestration cuts to federal research and development.

Republicans Unimpressed With Obama's Speech

January 29, 2014 8:18 am | by David Espo, AP Special Correspondent | News | Comments

At the dawn of an election year, congressional Republicans responded quickly and forcefully to President Barack Obama's nationally televised vow to act on his own if lawmakers won't cooperate on "creating new jobs, not creating new crises" in a nation with a yawning income gap.

State Of The U.S. Economy: Strongest Since Recession

January 29, 2014 8:15 am | by Josh Boak, AP Economics Writer | News | Comments

The U.S. economy is showing more strength than at any time since the Great Recession began six years ago. Employers are hiring. Home prices, sales and construction have surged. Corporate profits and stocks have hit records. And consumers have picked up their spending.

Obama Ambassador Pick Embraces Criticism Of China

January 28, 2014 2:20 pm | by Stephen Ohlemacher, Associated Press | News | Comments

Speaking at his Senate confirmation hearing, Sen. Max Baucus said he wants to help the U.S. build a more equitable economic relationship with China while encouraging the Asian giant to act responsibly as it emerges as a global power.    

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