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What makes Grand Rapids so grand?

March 31, 2008

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Last week three researchers walked the streets of Grand Rapids, Mich., to answer a curious question: Why has the city"s manufacturing job market fared so well, relative to the rest of the state?The team from George Washington University"s Institute of Public Policy visited the city to see what was...

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Some things just don't pan out

March 28, 2008

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My wife and kids are on a spring break trip with the in-laws in Florida. I stayed behind to get some work done and save up some vacation time for trips this summer.(As I write this, it"s snowing yet again in Rockford, Ill. This comes after we got 7 inches of snow on the first day of spring last...

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What is Tata thinking?

March 26, 2008

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Scanning a major news site this morning, I faced a difficult decision—which story would I read first? Vying for my attention were the compelling headlines about the escalated fighting in Iraq, the floods in Arkansas, and American Airlines grounding its MD-80 jets and the not-so-compelling...

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Marmon, Warren Buffett, and the "d" word

March 25, 2008

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Warren Buffett must be among the world"s richest individuals for a reason. When Forbes measured asset values for its annual list on Feb. 11, Buffett sat on top, edging out software pioneer Bill Gates, Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim Helu, and Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal.Evidently,...

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Things on my mind besides hair

March 20, 2008

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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...

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A solution to the skilled-labor shortage?

March 19, 2008

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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...

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The skilled person and the entrepreneur

March 19, 2008

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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...

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

March 13, 2008

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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...

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Saving pennies

March 12, 2008

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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...

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Too busy for Godot

March 11, 2008

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"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...

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Cheap labor—It's all relative

March 6, 2008

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Toronto, Canada's star.com 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...

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Hire 250 in one year, grab headlines

March 4, 2008

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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...

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

February 28, 2008

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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...

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Location, location, location

February 27, 2008

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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...

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Smaller parts make a stable whole

February 26, 2008

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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...

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