Last updateThu, 19 Jul 2018 4pm


Tough Battles for Next US Trade Chief

Ron Kirk, the choice for US trade representative whose nomination was examined by the Senate finance committee on Monday night, has faced one of the quieter run-ins to his confirmation.

Although facing questions over past tax payments, his missteps were small compared with those of Tim Geithner, Treasury secretary, or Tom Daschle, abortive nominee for health secretary.

Source: Financial Times

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Sickly U.S. Economy Set for 2nd Half Rebound: Survey

The recession-hit U.S. economy is proving weaker than economists expected just a month ago, but forecasters still think a recovery is in the cards for later this year, a survey released on Tuesday showed.

"Consumer spending and residential investment are expected to turn positive and begin boosting GDP growth in the third quarter of this year," the newsletter Blue Chip Economic Indicators said, summarizing its survey of private economists.

Source: Reuters

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Labor Bill Faces Threat in Senate

Key Senate Democrats are wavering in their support of legislation that would give more power to labor unions, dealing a setback to labor's top priority as businesses warn of the damage the bill would cause.

The battle over the "Employee Free Choice Act" -- expected to be introduced Tuesday -- is seen as a power struggle among labor unions and businesses, as well as a test of whether moderate Democrats and Republicans will push back on Democratic congressional leaders and the Obama administration.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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U.S. January Machine Tool Demand Falls to Record Low

U.S. January machine tool demand fell 59.2 percent to a record low $94.95 million from $232.59 million in December, the American Machine Tool Distributors' Association (AMTDA) and the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT) said in a joint report.

Machine tool demand in January fell 71.9 percent from $338 million a year earlier in January 2008.

Source: Reuters

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Lean Factories Find It Hard to Cut Jobs Even in a Slump

At a factory here that churns out plastic parts for everything from spray cans to blasting caps, laying off just one worker can be more trouble than it's worth.

The plant, owned by Cleveland-based Parker Hannifin Corp., has become so lean over the past decade that many assembly lines run with only a handful of highly trained workers.

Source: Wall Street Journal

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