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Things on my mind besides hair

March 20, 2008


I"ve got plenty of thoughts this week, but they are all over the board. Here are a few of them that don"t deal with the NCAA college basketball championship tournament. 1. I talked with my high school buddy and college roommate on Sunday evening. He"s about to break off and start his own... Continue Reading

A solution to the skilled-labor shortage?

March 19, 2008


Among my job responsibilities is compiling and sending out monthly e-newsletters—Fabricating Update, Stamping News Brief, Tube Talk, and Welding Wire. These newsletters deliver industry-specific information to subscribers. They also are what I like best about my job. Why? Because subscribers... Continue Reading

The skilled person and the entrepreneur

March 19, 2008


A Sunday profile in the Detroit Free Press sparked some reader emotion, judging by the 200 comments the story received within a day. It"s about a welder, Detroit resident George Dreher, his family, and the Michigan economy. "He hates asking for helpwhether it"s the government or... Continue Reading

U.S. Air Force makes a "fuelish" decision

March 13, 2008


I"m not a believer that the U.S. government can save manufacturing. In fact, I"ve written about that issue before in this blog, and my Editor"s Corner in the April 2008 The FABRICATOR will address it again.While it may not be able to save manufacturing, the federal government surely can stop... Continue Reading

Saving pennies

March 12, 2008


My husband traveled to Houston on Monday to visit a client. Before boarding his plane, he called from the airport to ask me to take my vehicle to our local wholesale club and fill up the gas tank, which was close enough to empty to make me wonder if I could make it that far. Watching the news on a... Continue Reading

Too busy for Godot

March 11, 2008


"Godot has arrived," said Wall Street analyst Edward Yardeni in a New York Times report. Yardeni's Godot is a recession, something even the upbeat forecaster said had indeed arrived, particularly after Friday's unemployment report from the Labor Department, which said the nation lost about 63,000... Continue Reading

Cheap labor—It's all relative

March 6, 2008


Toronto, Canada's reported March 5 that Ontario lost more than 77,000 manufacturing jobs from 2001 to 2006, according to the latest employment trends report from Statistics Canada. Labor market experts believe that trend is likely to stretch well into 2008 and beyond. Quebec lost... Continue Reading

Hire 250 in one year, grab headlines

March 4, 2008


A metal fabricator that hires 250 people in one year grabs attention.That's just what armored-part manufacturer Ultra Machine and Fabrication did yesterday afternoon at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new, 101,000-square-foot facility in Shelby, N.C., west of Charlotte, amid the... Continue Reading

Can changing a tire lead to a change in support for U.S. manufacturing?

February 28, 2008


You know John Ratzenberger from his role of as Cliff in the television show Cheers. Today he's not only the host of John Ratzenberger's Made in America on the Travel Channel, but also an advocate for supporting the manufacturing base in the U.S. He"s been fighting the good fight by... Continue Reading

Location, location, location

February 27, 2008


Among the featured stories on my Internet home page today was one that listed the best and worst states in the U.S. for finding jobs. This article appeared on the same day that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its latest mass layoff statistics. According to the BLS, the number of... Continue Reading

Smaller parts make a stable whole

February 26, 2008


When people think of manufacturing, they think of George's story. After working 30 years, the 59-year-old mechanical engineer was laid off in 2001 from a tube fabrication company. Earlier this week, the Homer Glen, Ill., resident, who didn't want his last name used, spoke to The Herald... Continue Reading

Steel price boom a bust for fabricators

February 22, 2008


Based on anecdotal evidence after talking with fabricators and some internal surveys we"ve done, fabricators are more than worried about rising steel prices. Unfortunately, every indication is that this upward trend in pricing isn"t going to disappear any time soon.The Steel Index reported that for... Continue Reading

Rogue satellite

February 20, 2008


When watching your satellite TV or talking on your cell phone, do you ever think about all the satellites that circle the earth? Do you ever wonder how many there are? Which country has the most? What would happen if they began to fall back to earth?To tell the truth, I never gave it much thought,... Continue Reading

Two realities in manufacturing

February 19, 2008


Ever since we emerged from the recession earlier this decade, I feel I've been living in two economic realities in manufacturing: One where economic expansion returned and another where the recession never really left.The presidential candidates know the second reality, judging by their stump... Continue Reading

A tale of two Mexicos

February 15, 2008


I"ve seen two different versions of Mexico over the last three weeks, and in some ways the two worlds are not as different as you might think when it comes to metal fabricating.While at WeldMex in Mexico City last week, I learned that Mexican fabricators are coming around to newer, more... Continue Reading