Blogs

Filter Content

Grabbing the skilled-labor issue by the horns

February 16, 2010

By:

High unemployment has muted manufacturing’s cry for skilled workers, but the cry is still there. It’s a paradox. As manufacturers shed unskilled workers, those who are left must be more skilled and versatile than ever. According to the Labor Department, American manufacturing produces more...

Continue Reading

The aftermath of exuberant times

February 12, 2010

By:

Remember former Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan's comments about the U.S. economy being swept up in "irrational exuberance"? He used the phrase in 1996 to describe the stock market boom that might have been overvalued. To be frank, I thought he had coined the phrase in the 2000s to...

Continue Reading

Stop the bloodletting

February 10, 2010

By:

Last month the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced that December mass layoffs and initial unemployment claims were at the lowest levels since July 2008. Even if they are happening at a slower pace, layoffs continue and are having a devastating effect on workers, the economy, and companies'...

Continue Reading

Personifying Toyota

February 9, 2010

By:

This morning’s announcement of Toyota’s recall of 437,000 hybrid vehicles seems to have brought the automaker’s woes to a whole new level. Judging by the media coverage, these events are epic. Want to understand the media circus around the Toyota recall? Here’s a little something John...

Continue Reading

My mom, the informant

February 5, 2010

By:

My mother is a retired elementary school teacher, and I'm married to a high school math teacher. Inevitably if the two are together for any length of time, the discussion turns to public education. The opinions are impassioned and obviously biased, but the input is valuable in understanding how a...

Continue Reading

'150 jobs for $1.3 million would be a steal'

February 3, 2010

By:

Among the items in last month’s “Tube Talk” e-newsletter was one about Leonard Maniscalco, who owns Sackett Systems Inc., Bensenville, Ill. This small-business owner wants the government to give him a $1.3 million grant. In return, he’ll create 150 new jobs. According to Chicago Tribune...

Continue Reading

The dangers of hiring on the cheap

February 2, 2010

By:

Despite the drama at Toyota (talk about the risk of standardized parts) and the political sideshows in Washington, on the main stage of American life, something’s happening. Business is decidedly better. As Chris Kuehl, economist for the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, put it in a...

Continue Reading

The future of training

January 28, 2010

By:

Whether or not you follow all the latest trends in digital technology, you’ve probably seen fancy devices such as the Smartphone from BlackBerry® or the iPhone from Apple. They allow you to do all sorts of things—play music, send and receive text messages, take photos, record and edit video,...

Continue Reading

I’ll know the recession has ended when...

January 27, 2010

By:

Tonight, President Barack Obama will take the podium to deliver his State of the Union address. In his preview of the speech, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said that Obama hopes to use his message to “outline a hopeful track for our future.” He also said, “The president is going...

Continue Reading

From software developer to plumber

January 20, 2010

By:

Yesterday was one of those days. Late in the afternoon, the first of three guys who came to replace our burst hot water heater showed up. Brian introduced himself, and I directed him to the failed heater that had caused some damage (soggy, stinky carpet) and left us hot-waterless for almost a day....

Continue Reading

GI Bill for the shop floor

January 18, 2010

By:

This recession has got me thinking about careers. As you know, unemployment still is uncomfortably high. Businesses may be recovering, but they aren’t hiring in a substantial way just yet. The talking heads on TV are pointing fingers, saying the government stimulus hasn’t led to any significant...

Continue Reading

Is your company prepared for the worst?

January 15, 2010

By:

I'm reading about the tragedy in Haiti this morning and thinking about the sheer amount of work that'll be required to get this nation back on its feet. That may be one heck of a goal considering many feel this nation really wasn't on stable footing to begin with—extreme poverty, history of...

Continue Reading

How one woman benefited from Chrysler's problems

January 14, 2010

By:

You don't have to be a former autoworker to have been affected by the automotive industry's problems. All U.S. taxpayers have been affected, as have many community and state economies. I personally was affected — in a relatively minor way — when Chrysler sent letters of termination to 789...

Continue Reading

The need to adapt, no matter what happens

January 12, 2010

By:

When I saw the words manufacturing and boom in one headline, I had to do a double take. An AllianceBernstein economist was especially optimistic, predicting that manufacturing may be gearing up for the biggest turnaround seen in 25 years. "The evidence points to a 20 percent jump in output in the...

Continue Reading

Manufacturing in the movies

January 8, 2010

By:

I spent the first part of my holiday break unwinding by watching movies. I intended to go out skating, visit downtown Chicago, and generally get out of the house during the second part of the break, but the temperature dropped down to single digits; I ended up watching more movies.One of the more...

Continue Reading