The parts of the economy that make stuff are in a bit of a slump

Jun 5, 2024
The government reports construction spending fell for a second month in April. And factory orders were up less than 1% after being revised down for March.
Over the past few months, manufacturing employment has been stable.
Jim Young/AFP via Getty Images

April factory orders were up, slightly, for third straight month

Jun 4, 2024
The 0.7% increase signals a healthy tone for manufacturing, at least relative to recent weak readings for construction and consumer spending.
Demand for construction and industrial equipment was up about 2% in April from March, boosted by federal infrastructure funding. Above, construction on a semiconductor plant in Texas.
Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Farewell, Chevy Malibu

May 31, 2024
GM will discontinue the once-popular mid-price family sedan in late 2024, to make way for more EV production at its plant in Kansas City.
A 1965 Chevy Malibu convertible, the Malibu’s second model year, being driven in a St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Seaside Heights, New Jersey.
Courtesy of Vintage Automobile Museum of New Jersey

What motivates companies to replace workers with machines?

May 30, 2024
A labor shortage in manufacturing seems to be tempting them.
Jim Young/AFP via Getty Images

One of China's hottest toys sold millions. The inventor made $830.

May 9, 2024
A person who comes up with a good idea might not always reap the rewards in China's manufacturing ecosystem.
It's hard to spot which carrot knives are originals and which ones are copies.
Charles Zhang/Marketplace

Electric aircraft companies are scrambling toward FAA certification as funding gets tight

May 6, 2024
The goal: an electric aircraft that can take off and land vertically.
Beta Technologies opened a nearly 200,000-quare-foot facility in South Burlington, Vermont, in October to make electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. Above, Beta's electric aircraft flies past Manhattan.
Courtesy Beta Technologies

Looking for a “fresh start” amid Phoenix’s semiconductor boom

The federal government is spending billions to support semiconductor manufacturing. But trainees seeking chipmaking jobs may have to wait.
Students in the Semiconductor Technician Quick Start training course at Mesa Community College practice while wearing “bunny suits,” the required workwear at fabrication plants.
Maria Hollenhorst/Marketplace

For public good, not for profit.

Boeing failures are a case study of America's manufacturing "dark age"

Apr 24, 2024
A century ago, U.S manufacturers were run by engineers. Now leadership suites are distant from factory floors, says journalist Jerry Useem.
Jerry Useem attributes much of America's loss of manufacturing excellence to the replacement of engineers by financial managers in corporate leadership.
Juliette Michel/AFP via Getty Images

Once again: Who pays for tariffs on Chinese steel?

Apr 17, 2024
As the Biden administration proposes tripling duties, experts recall how previous tariffs mainly hit American consumers and industries.
President Joe Biden speaks to members of the United Steel Workers Union in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, announcing plans to raise tariffs on Chinese steel.
Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Yellen's in China to deliver a message: Stop making so much stuff!

Apr 5, 2024
The booming U.S. economy is giving her leverage on trade as Western economies try to prevent a wave of cheap Chinese goods hitting the market.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks during a meeting with Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng on Friday. Yellen is on a five-day visit for trade talks amid tensions between the U.S. and China.
Ken Ishii - Pool/Getty Images