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How much should a gallon of gasoline cost?

May 5, 2011 | By Eric Lundin

The unthinkable has happened: Gasoline prices have crossed the $5.00-per-gallon threshold. Forget the official data. The Energy Information Administration says that the average retail price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.96, but that’s not accurate for two reasons. First, it...

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Crying on the job

May 4, 2011 | By Vicki Bell

I was in the thick of writing about the federal gas tax and how mayors from metropolitan cities are in favor of increasing the taxes if more funds are spent on improving the infrastructure in these cities and less on highways, when a far more interesting topic caught my eye.  Perhaps you don't...

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Tis the season, four years later

May 1, 2011 | By Amanda Carlson

I've been at the PWT desk for a little more than four years, and I've found that one of the best parts of the job is meeting and talking to people who have a contagious energy about the welding industry and what they do. After about eight months on the job, I received a phone call from a guy named...

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Catching the wave of reshoring

April 28, 2011 | By Dan Davis

I'm working on our FAB 40 editorial feature for June. It's a collection of 40 metal fabricating companies that have submitted to us their revenue figures for 2010, projected revenue for 2011, and outlook for this year. The listing provides a great snapshot of the overall health of the fabricating...

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Class of 2011

April 27, 2011 | By Vicki Bell

Are you graduating from college this year, or do you know someone who is? This year's graduates may have something to celebrate besides their newly earned degrees. According to a report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), employers plan to hire 19.3 percent more recent...

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Top 10 most stressful jobs

April 26, 2011 | By Eric Lundin, a job search Web site, recently posted the results of a couple of surveys regarding stressful jobs. Two thoughts occurred to me immediately: The 91.2 percent of people who have jobs right now are just happy to have a steady paycheck, and the 8.8 percent who don’t are experiencing...

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Sustainable jobs need sustainable growth

April 25, 2011 | By Tim Heston

In May 2009, as I merged onto a congested I-94, driving from the airport to the ALAW Advanced Laser Applications Workshop outside Detroit, I saw a billboard for W Industries, a local metal fabricator. Not only was it odd seeing a contract fabricator advertised so prominently, but the sign’s...

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Fiber lasers make their mark on thin-gauge cutting

April 21, 2011 | By Dan Davis

The eyes don't lie. Solid-state lasers can hum. I've seen these fiber lasers running at EuroBlech 2010 in Hannover, Germany, and FABTECH 2010 in Atlanta. Most recently I witnessed another "fiber" laser at INTECH North America, TRUMPF's customer event at its headquarters in Farmington, Conn. The...

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Trickle-down effect of rising fuel costs

April 20, 2011 | By Vicki Bell

Yesterday's "Tube Talk" e-newsletter discussed rising gas prices and the effect the increase is having on small businesses. More than 64 percent of small business owners polled on said revenue is down as a result of increased gas prices, and more than a quarter said they will have...

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Two ways to manage manufacturing risk

April 19, 2011 | By Tim Heston

Last week I visited two facilities that focused on low- to medium-volume manufacturing. Both customize products to meet customer needs. Both tout quick response and comprehensive customer service. Yet in many respects, the two couldn’t have been more different. A week ago today I pulled into the...

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Sixty jobs

April 13, 2011 | By Vicki Bell

Articles about two different companies at opposite ends of the fabricating spectrum adding 30 jobs each came to my attention this morning.  One company's plan involves a big investment by the once bankrupt, bailed-out corporation, and the other, collaboration with a state-run program and local...

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Is it North versus South when it comes to manufacturing?

April 13, 2011 | By Dan Davis

On a recent visit to Southern Fabricators Inc., Polkton, N.C., l learned how brothers Ken Carpenter Sr. and Everett Carpenter first set up shop in 1968 in a tiny 10,000-sq.-ft. facility that just so happens to be the size of its powder coating department today. Let's just say the company has done...

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The jungle of tax reform

April 11, 2011 | By Tim Heston

On Friday night I was like a kid half-heartedly doing his homework while watching the weather and awaiting the snowstorm. I kept thinking the storm would close school (government shutdown), and I could stop this blasted homework (my income taxes). Then at the 11th hour (literally: it was a little...

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'Jobs are back, just not for everybody'

April 6, 2011 | By Vicki Bell

I had an interesting conversation the other day with a septuagenarian who is currently enrolled in an MBA program. This former president and CEO of a textile manufacturing company is making straight As. He also is actively looking for a job, having separated from his former company six years ago. ...

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Manufacturing rockets: Metal fabricating what’s next

April 5, 2011 | By Tim Heston

This week I recalled one of my favorite television moments. During an early West Wing episode, one of the president’s advisers, Sam Seaborn, argues for the extension of NASA funding. After several minutes of heated banter, his counterpart asks why space travel is so important when we have so much...

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