Industry News

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The California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) is proposing to impose new requirements on product manufacturers and various other business entities under Proposition 65—the California law requiring warnings in the presence of certain chemicals. Under Prop 65, a manufacturer, producer, packager, importer or distributor of a product that causes consumers to be exposed to a listed chemical is required to provide a warning to consumers. Currently, a Prop 65 warning must be given prior to the time of anticipated exposure, but under the new rule, the warning must be given prior to sale, imposing new burdens on website and catalog retailers. 

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22
The Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank said that manufacturing activity slowed in January, beginning the new year on a softer note. The composite index of general business conditions dropped from 8 in December to 3 in January, its lowest level in five months. Underlying this figure, new orders (down from 14 to -8), production (down from 7 to -2), shipments (down from 8 to -5) and exports (down from zero to -7) declined for the month, and hiring (down from 8 to zero) stagnated. On the positive side, it was the 13th straight month with expanding levels of sentiment, and manufacturers remain mostly optimistic about the coming months.

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21
Tuesday night in his State of the Union speech, President Obama emphasized his goal of sustaining the newly resurgent US economy. Regarding trade and other policies that affect the nation’s manufacturing base, Obama said: “Our manufacturers have added almost 800,000 new jobs” since 2010. “Some of our bedrock sectors, like our auto industry, are booming.” Explaining that “95% of the world’s customers live outside our borders,” the president said Americans “can’t close ourselves off” from opportunities in trade and international commerce.

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20
Drew Industries Incorporated (NYSE: DW), a leading supplier of components for recreational vehicles (RVs) and manufactured homes, today announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Lippert Components, Inc. (LCI®), has acquired the business and certain assets of EA Technologies, LLC. EA Technologies is an Elkhart, Indiana-based manufacturer of custom steel and aluminum parts and provider of electro-deposition ('e-coat') and powder coating services for RV, bus, medium-duty truck, automotive, recreational marine, specialty and utility trailer, and military applications. EA Technologies' e-coat process is ISO 9000 certified. Sales of the acquired business for 2014 were approximately $17 million.

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14

AUBURN HILLS, Mich.Jan. 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ --

The new 2015 Ram 1500 Rebel brings a one-of-a-kind off-road design to the full-size truck segment.

"Offering an off-road-style package on the Ram 1500 has been on our to-do list for some time but the right combination didn't present itself until now," said Bob Hegbloom, President and CEO — Ram Truck Brand, FCA US LLC. "The Rebel drops right into a core segment of the truck market with unique design cues and can-do attitude backed by Ram Truck engineering."

New exterior design highlights
Rebel features an all-new grille with prominent billet silver "RAM" letter badge. Departing from the brand's iconic "cross-hair" designs, the blacked-out Rebel grille tops a completely new black off-road front bumper design with a durable powder-coated surface, which incorporates a powder coated, billet silver skid plate, new front tow hooks and new LED fog lamps. Black bezel bi-functional projector headlamps with LED marker lights lie beneath an aluminum, twin-snorkel sport hood.

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14
The International Business Times (1/13, Gallucci) reports that “plunging” oil prices have US manufacturers “bracing for impact” that the downward price trend has already had on energy companies. Lost business from oil and gas providers, however, could present manufacturers a “mixed bag” when balanced against reduced production costs. The story cites NAM Chief Economist Chad Moutray as saying it’s likely that some oil producers will postpone purchases in the next one to three months to see if oil prices rebound. “These prices have fallen very dramatically very quickly, and that has scared some folks,” Moutray said. “That’s obviously a negative in that it adds a level of uncertainty to the marketplace that wouldn’t be there otherwise.”

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13

Bryan Iams, vice president of corporate and government affairs for PPG Industries, argues on the “Congress Blog” inThe Hill(1/12) that “there has never been a better time” for lawmakers “to leverage the current revival in U.S. manufacturing.” He cites a NAM finding that the sector accounts for over 17 million good-paying American jobs and contributes over $2 trillion to GDP, or 12.5%. Iams credits “affordable energy” and “competitive labor costs” for current successes, but he calls for “the help of our elected officials to continue this momentum.” Congress’ focus, he says, should be on: making the US tax system “more competitive” and aimed at spurring innovation, investment, job creation, and growth; “enhancing” education through increased STEM instruction “to address the ongoing skills gap and build the 21st-century workforce that manufacturers need”; streamlining immigration procedures so that “talented” foreign workers can remain in the US “without displacing” American employees; and creating an environment in which “regulation isn’t a hindrance to growth.”

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12
The U.S. economy generated 2.95 million net new nonfarm payroll workers in 2014, the fastest annual pace since 1999. In addition, the unemployment rate fell to 5.6 percent, its lowest level since June 2008. One might quibble that these figures overstate the overall health of the labor market, with part-time employment and unemployment still being a challenge. Indeed, the participation rate remains near 30-year lows. Still, the data suggest movement in the right direction. Manufacturers, for instance, hired an additional 15,500 workers on average each month in 2014, with 762,000 more employees since the end of 2009. The sector currently employs just more than 12.2 million workers. Therefore, manufacturing employment has increased at a decent pace of late, consistent with a mostly upbeat outlook.

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08
Col-Met Engineered Finishing Solutions’ team joined with city officials and development partners to celebrate the groundbreaking of their new facility being built in Rockwall, Texas.

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07

US Factory Orders Down 0.7% In November

The AP (1/6, Crutsinger), citing Commerce Department data released Tuesday, reports that orders to US factories declined for a fourth consecutive month in November, with a 0.5% drop in demand in the “closely watched” category of primary metals, industrial machinery, and military aircraft, indicating that planned business investment was down for the third month in a row. The AP said economists nonetheless “remain optimistic that the drop in orders is a temporary soft patch” and that a strengthening economy fueled by greater consumer spending “will trigger a rebound in demand in 2015.” The Commerce Department also said that demand for durable goods fell 0.9% in November, the third decline in the past four months. On a seasonally adjusted basis, total factory orders in November amounted to $492.7 billion, giving the first 11 months of 2014 a gain of 3.4% over the same period in 2013.

For more news from the National Association of Manufacturers, visit www.nam.org.


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