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Returning to the slightly-worse-than-yesterday but still good ol' days

December 18, 2009

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I read an interview with some highfalutin investment guy in the Dec. 21 issue of Fortune, and I'm starting to feel good about the future. It's not that he's bullish about the economy in the months to come, but that may not necessarily be all bad.Mohamed El-Erian, who is CEO of an...

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The 12 months of oh-nine

December 16, 2009

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Here's a quick look back at a few highlights and lowlights from 2009—where we were when we began the year, where we are now, and what happened as the year unfolded, particularly when it comes to jobs. I wish you peace and a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2010. The first month of...

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The Catch 22 of collateral

December 15, 2009

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Earlier this year, I landed at the Detroit airport en route to a conference. I got into my rental car, headed to the I-94 on-ramp, and then I saw it. There, next to the highway, was a big billboard advertising, of all things, a metal fabricator: "W Industries: Aerospace, Defense, Energy,...

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The end of TARP as we know it

December 10, 2009

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Two years ago the U.S. economy had many symptoms of a bubble ready to burst-runaway stock prices, rapidly inflating real estate prices, and interest rates that encouraged many homeowners to refinance (that's a synonym for "take unnecessary risks with") their most valuable assets. One symptom,...

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All I want for Christmas is ...

December 9, 2009

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Jobs—especially good paying jobs that can't be exported. Well, that's almost all. I also want world peace and an end to hunger and homelessness. Then there's the climate. Oh, all right, I guess I want more than jobs, but it's beginning to look as though jobs—which...

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Of GM, chainsaws, rattlesnakes, and risk

December 8, 2009

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There's something eerie about a prediction that comes to pass. When Fritz Henderson was announced as Rick Waggoner's replacement as GM's CEO on March 30, a business blog headline read Fritz Henderson May Not Last Long at GM. The blog, by John Gapper, associate editor and chief...

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Looking for leadership

December 4, 2009

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If you didn't notice Emerson Electric Co. David Farr's comments made before the Thanksgiving break, take note now. The CEO voiced what's on the minds of plenty of manufacturing company leaders and managers."Washington is doing everything in their manpower, capability, to destroy U.S....

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More good signs for manufacturing

December 3, 2009

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The mood in manufacturing seemed to shift sometime during the summer. Granted, it couldn't have gotten much worse from the spring, but at least the dark mood didn't last any longer than it did. The PMI, an index compiled by the Institute for Supply Management, broke through 50 percent in August....

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'Coming back slowly'

December 2, 2009

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With all the buzz about Tiger Woods, you may not have seen the flurry of reports post FABTECH, such as this one that appeared in today's Rockford Register Star newspaper, that offer glimpses of where metal fabricating companies stand in the recessionary cycle.According to the article, Farley...

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Giving thanks & for cash flow

December 1, 2009

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As my toddler sculpted her mash potatoes into something resembling, well, a lump of mash potatoes, I looked around at the Thanksgiving table. Smiles all around, not only because my daughter's so darn cute (no bias on my part, of course), but also because they knew they didn't have to...

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Renewed hope for U.S. manufacturing

November 20, 2009

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In 1939 manufacturing provided about 30 percent of the jobs in the U.S. By November of 1943, it provided 38.8 percent of U.S. jobs. Shortly after World War II ended, the manufacturing portion was back to its prewar level. Except for a few expansions along the way, probably associated with producing...

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FABTECH 'exceeded our expectations'

November 19, 2009

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Economically speaking, it's been a grim year. Few industries have escaped the repercussions of the downturn, and ours—metal manufacturing—is among the hardest hit. It was under a heavy cloud of concern that a stressed, worried industry came together at the 2009 FABTECH®...

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Lean manufacturing meets health care

November 14, 2009

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The coverage on health care reform has been driving me crazy lately. As the saying goes, there are two things that are good to have, but you don't want to know how they're made: laws and sausages. For weeks, article after newspaper article has described the art of sausage-making.But one...

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Taking a working break from free trade

November 13, 2009

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My two fellow bloggers have written about jobs, and I can't disagree with their points. Job creation is important both to the electorate and those they elect.Unfortunately, the past decade hasn't been a stellar one for job creation. If you take a look at the private jobs in the U.S. in...

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No layoffs (except for Congress)

November 11, 2009

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Yes, Tim, it truly is about jobs. Congress can debate health care reform, bail out banks, extend unemployment benefits, work to develop a climate bill, increase the legislative budget, and do whatever else it does until the cows come home, but we need jobs—lots of good jobs—for the...

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