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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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It's about jobs

November 10, 2009

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It's now one in 10, probably more. Take a walk and glance around. You'll probably see someone in need of a job. Within two blocks of my house, I know four who are unemployed—and those are just the neighbors I know. The Labor Department's release, which pegged...

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Lean adventures continue

November 6, 2009

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I think I recently experienced one of those "Ah-ha!" moments that metal fabricators undertaking lean initiatives have pretty frequently. I was attending a meeting where the subject was improving communication between our ad sales team and our magazine production team. Incomplete and incorrect...

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How can a home-buyer's tax credit hurt you?

November 5, 2009

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If you agree that the government should get involved more or less directly in running the economy, you probably agree that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is a pretty good idea. All told, it provides more than $500 billion in spending on infrastructure, health care, education,...

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A most-fitting memorial to 9/11

November 4, 2009

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It's been eight years since the 9/11 attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center and killed almost 3,000 innocent prople— enough time for two presidential elections; U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq; the fall of a dictatorship; the battle of New Orleans versus Katrina;...

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The economy: It could be worse

November 3, 2009

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The status of...

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RIP: High-volume metal manufacturing in the U.S.

October 30, 2009

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On the day that everyone was rejoicing about the GDP growth in the third quarter of this year, I'm still thinking about an announcement that Swedish appliance giant Electrolux made earlier this week. Somehow, that doesn't strike me as being great news, particularly for Iowa residents and...

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How can a home-buyer's tax credit help you?

October 29, 2009

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Whether it's a good idea or a bad one is a matter of perspective. It's a tax credit related to a mortgage, and it can put up to $8,000 into the pocket of first-time home buyers. A quick look at housing start permits reveals the sad state of the residential construction industry. In January 2006,...

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