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Bad news/good news in the in-box

January 7, 2009

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In my e-mail in-box this morning was bad news from a friend who said that her company initiated a "major layoff" yesterday. The good news? She survived—at least this round. Two of her friends/co-workers were among those laid off. She's concerned about them and is doing what she can to...

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Getting smart in a global downturn

January 5, 2009

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After reading the news feeds during the past few days, I can tell you what my best Christmas gift was: a refreshing break from those news feeds. The-sky-is-falling manufacturing news came in steadily over the holiday, and it didn"t make for fun reading. The Institute for Supply Management"s...

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2008: A year in review

December 18, 2008

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We"re wrapping up things at The FABRICATOR and its sister magazines this week—getting the January and January/February issues ready to be shipped to the printer almost immediately upon our return from Christmas break, and working ahead on February features. You can tell everyone wants to gear...

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Ode to 2008

December 17, 2008

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'Twas a mere two weeks before the end of a year Filled with economic unrest and little to cheer Or so it would seem, as the headlines screamed "The sky is falling; this isn't a dream" Unemployment is growing and jobs are notAutomakers are sinking; credit is shot Politicians are...

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The world needs your stuff

December 15, 2008

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A friend recently forwarded me a great I-told-you-so kind of video clip on the economy.The basic problem with the U.S. economy is that we have too much consumption and borrowing, and not enough production and savings. The consumer is basically going to stop consuming and start rebuilding his...

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Job losses in metal fabricating: A sign of hope?

December 12, 2008

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Nobody wants to be thinking about layoffs this time of year. But it"s inevitable given the economic reports that come out on a regular basis.Look on the bright side. Things aren"t as bad in the manufacturing sector as they were during the last recession. If you look at overall job losses in...

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And today's word is ...

December 10, 2008

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Ass-backwards: a slang term that means of or in a way that is particularly contrary to the usual way, confusing—sometimes referred to as putting the cart before the horse.No, I didn't just pull this term out of my & hat. It's plastered across news sites today and being broadcast on...

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The successful candidate for car czar

December 9, 2008

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Position: Car CzarJob Location: Between a rock and a hard placeJob Description: The Bush Administration seeks a real self-starter to head a new government initiative to rehabilitate portions of the automotive market under duress. The successful candidate must have an extremely positive attitude,...

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The welder who saved Christmas

December 5, 2008

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Not too many people know the tale of Holslag, the elf welder who saved Christmas. Ol" St. Nick and his merry band of flying reindeer get most of the press, but the tale of ol" Holslag deserves to be shared for all to remember and cherish.You see, on this particular frigid Christmas Eve, St. Nick"s...

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That all-important bus

December 4, 2008

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If you're reading this, you're on the Internet, and most likely, your time spent online has increased over the years. A study earlier this year by IDC, a provider of market intelligence for the IT community, revealed that Internet users are spending more time online than watching TV: 32.7...

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Winners and losers in a recession

December 2, 2008

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At the restaurant, I knew something was up.The family ate out at a middle-class dining establishment next to a big shopping mall on Thanksgiving weekend the day after Black Friday. Only, the place was only half full. More than that, service was horrible. Two waitresses scurried around helping...

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A different recession, different challenges

November 25, 2008

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As you can see by this headline, I"ve used the word recession for the first time in writing blog postings or features for the magazine. I don"t think I have to worry about anyone giving me a ring and chastising me for bringing down U.S. manufacturing single-handedly by muttering the dread r...

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E&E Metal Fab: Finding success and giving back

November 25, 2008

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As automotive execs, in delicious irony, flew luxury private jets to Washington to ask for billions of taxpayer money, I flew coach.In the middle seat, mind you.I landed Thursday in Philadelphia to tour E&E Metal Fab, a little more than an hour to the west in Lebanon, Pa. The company celebrated its...

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Questions about an automotive bailout

November 20, 2008

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How crazy is the automotive sector in this country? I talked with a co-worker who just purchased a Ford F-150® for about $16,000 after a $14,400 rebate from the automaker. Additionally, he said he heard a Northern Illinois automotive dealer was selling a Chrysler PT Cruiser® for $1 with the...

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Scam artists targeting fabricators

November 19, 2008

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By now, most of us are familiar with the Nigerian scam, in which "wealthy" foreigners need help moving millions of dollars from their countries and promise those who assist hefty rewards. Victims have lost thousands of dollars to this and similar scams. Now scam artists are targeting fabricating...

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