This Week in Welding
Oct. 2, 2012

US manufacturing grows for 1st time in 4 months
The Associated Press via ABC News
U.S. manufacturing grew for the first time in four months, buoyed by a jump in new orders and more jobs. The increase is a hopeful sign that the economy may be improving after a weak stretch. The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said that its index of factory activity rose to 51.5. That's up from 49.6 in August. A reading above 50 signals growth and below indicates contraction. The index had been below that threshold from June through August. The reading "will boost hopes that some of the recent slowdown in economic growth was just a summer phenomenon," Paul Dales, an economist at Capital Economics, said in a note to clients.More

Factories emerge as America's new classrooms
The Christian Science Monitor
Former lab technician Annette Helmich is thrilled to have a new, in-­demand skill and a full-time job to go with it — welding machinery. While Helmich started learning her new craft by spending four weeks at a local community college, she says she polished her welding skills on the factory floor of her new employer, AGCO Corp. The Jackson, Minn., global manufacturer of agricultural machinery, which took over iconic names such as Massey Ferguson and Allis-Chalmers, is one of a number of manufacturers revisiting an old idea. Instead of relying on community colleges or private schools to get skilled workers, companies are again running their own training programs.More

Washington state manufacturing jobs slowly growing, better than peak of recession
Manufacturing jobs took a big dive at the beginning of the recession, with companies trying to save money by shipping manufacturing abroad. But the industry as a whole is making a slow recovery, at least that was the feel at the SmartMap Expo at the TRAC in Pasco, Wash. Gary White, Tri-Cities Development Council director of business retention and expansion, says more than 500 people attended the Pasco event and they had 120 exhibitors for the 10th annual event.More

Bringing manufacturing back to America
Minnesota Public Radio
For a growing number of American companies, offshoring manufacturing work is becoming less of a benefit for business. So they're bringing them back to the U.S. The practice is called "reshoring" or "insourcing." More companies are finding a better deal keeping jobs close to home. According to a Boston Consulting Group report, five million manufacturing jobs could be created in the United States by the end of the decade as the country is fast becoming the lowest-cost producer in the developed world. Many of these jobs will come from European countries and Japan as the U.S. is expected to have a cost advantage of up to 25 percent by 2015 over Germany, Italy, France, the United Kingdom and Japan. More

Manufacturing jobs get image polishing in Northern Kentucky
Business First
To help fill an advanced manufacturing job gap, two studies have begun in Northern Kentucky. reports that the Northern Kentucky Industrial Park Management Council Industry Partnership commissioned the studies to find the stumbling blocks for lack of employment. Industry leaders say technology upgrades have made clean work spaces a must while also decreasing the amount of physical labor for a majority of jobs. According to the report, thousands of advanced manufacturing jobs go unfilled across the country each year because of a shortage of qualified workers.More

Ohio's manufacturing gains likely to continue
Dayton Daily News
After years of outsourcing, U.S. manufacturers are beginning to step up production at home in response to rising costs in foreign markets and the productivity of American workers. Added factory work that would have otherwise gone overseas could generate up to five million U.S. manufacturing jobs and jobs that support the manufacturing industry by the end of the decade, according to a recent report from The Boston Consulting Group. The trend, known as "reshoring," already has taken root in Ohio and could help sustain the state's already robust recovery in manufacturing employment, which has rebounded from a loss of abo0ut 147,000 jobs during the 2007-09 recession to a gain of 50,000 jobs since the recovery began, the latest government jobs figures show.More

Investigators find cracks in 2nd Dreamliner engine
Just two months after an engine cracked and failed during a test aboard a Boeing 787, federal plane inspectors have found a second engine problem on a different Dreamliner, the National Transportation Safety Board announced. The NTSB identified the problem as a cracked fan midshaft on a Dreamliner General Electric GEnx-1B turbofan engine, the group said in a written statement posted on its website. The 787 had not yet flown when investigators identified the engine problem, investigators said. Fanfare has been loud surrounding the technologically advanced Dreamliner. Among other touted features, it's the first commercial airliner made mostly of light-weight carbon composites, requiring less fuel than conventional airliners.More

Welding students fashion new 'R' for homecoming
The Riverton Ranger
A new "R" was at the Riverton Homecoming bonfire recently in Riverton, Wyo., thanks to the work of two Riverton High School students. Fremont County School District 25 Superintendent Terry Snyder said the old "R" had "melted down or self-destructed" last year, leaving behind a challenge for welding students Robert Anderson and James Steinhoff. Both boys said they would like to work as professional welders after graduation. "They were as excited as can be to have that project to work on," Snyder said. Anderson said he learned about the need for a new letter during an online learning class.More

Can robots bring manufacturing jobs back to the US?
The U.S. manufacturing sector has been going through a transformation over the past 70 years. Manufacturing employment peaked at nearly 40 percent of the nonfarm workforce during World War II and since has fallen to roughly 9 percent of the working population, according to data from the Labor Department. The total number of manufacturing jobs steadily has been more or less decreasing since the late 1970s. But recently, something strange has been happening. In the past two years, manufacturing employment actually has increased by roughly half a million.More

York County, Maine, inmates learning welding trade
The New England School of Metalwork in Auburn, Maine, is taking its classroom on the road. An instructor is traveling around the state in a tractor trailer to attract students and get them interested in the field of welding. Recently, the mobile classroom was in Alfred, outside the York County Jail. Instructor Jon Gradie is teaching some inmates how to weld. The goal of this program is to help the students land a job. If they do, they're likely to stay out of jail, and that's a burden lifted off the county.More

West Side Tech plans welding program
Times Leader via The Pittston Dispatch
The West Side Career and Technology Center could soon have a new area of study with benefits not only for high school-age students but also for area adults seeking work in the Marcellus Shale fields and other area businesses. The school's joint operating committee has granted permission for the school's administration to formally apply to the Pennsylvania Department of Education for approval for a welding technology program.More

'Dirty Jobs' host Mike Rowe hits campaign trail, stumps for manufacturing
You probably know Mike Rowe as the ubiquitous pitchman for Ford Motor Co. and the host of the Discovery Channel's "Dirty Jobs." But lately, Rowe has taken on a new role — as an ambassador for manufacturing and other blue-collar jobs. Recently, Rowe took the stage with GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney and other business leaders as part of a manufacturing summit in Cleveland organized by the Romney campaign. Rowe participated in Romney's Cleveland rally at the invitation of the Romney campaign, but he wasn't there to endorse the Republican candidate or to bash President Barack Obama. He was there to stump about manufacturing. More

Exxon Mobil expands chemical plant in Louisiana
To increase capacity for synthetic lubricant base stocks manufacturing and lubricants blending, packaging and storage, Exxon Mobil Corp. announced that it will expand its existing Baton Rouge chemical plant and Port Allen lubricants plant. The expansion will include a $215 million capital investment to expand operations, revive and modernize equipment and construct a state-of-the-art blending center for synthetic aviation oil in Port Allen, La., the company said.More

Georgia welding students try for shot at international event
The Rockmart Journal via The Fish Wrap
Cedartown, Ga., welding students Zach Bright, 18, and Drew Swafford, 19, are competing for a chance at a world championship welding event next summer in Germany. The 42nd WorldSkills Competition will be held July 2-7 in Leipzig, Germany. Bright and Swafford are completing special welding tasks, which will be sent in for judging. Only a few students will make it to the next round. The welding projects have to follow exact plans laid out in a brochure provided to competitors. Each project involves difficult welds and complex forms.More