Caterpillar seen turning around despite investigation

A Caterpillar 349E hydraulic excavator at E Lower Wacker Dr, Chicago.

By Mengjie (Jessie) Jiang Caterpillar Inc. is projected to turn around in 2017, boosted by improving global end markets and effective cost management, despite the overhanging cloud of an alleged tax fraud. Analysts anticipate the heavy-equipment maker this year will post net income of $1.54 billion, or $2.60 per diluted share, swinging from a $67 […]

Automation lifts manufacturing, and job skills

Instructor Jack Krikorian (left) supervises students operating a CNC milling machine at the training facility of the Technology & Manufacturing Association in Schaumburg. Chicago non-profit organization Bethel New Life provides manufacturing skills and supportive career training for community residents at no cost.

By Mengjie (Jessie) Jiang The latest purchase of Atlas Tool & Die Works Inc. is a high-tech machine called a “vertical machining center” that processes parts with complex profiled surfaces in single setups. The company’s Lyons factory was built on manual work nearly 100 years ago, and Atlas has participated firsthand in manufacturing’s continuing evolution […]

Consumer confidence hits highest level since 2001

By Mengjie(Jessie) Jiang Consumer confidence in the U.S. climbed to a 15-year high in February amid an optimistic outlook for business and jobs, suggesting that the economy will continue to expand this year. The headline index soared to 114.8 from a downwardly revised 111.6 in the previous month, the New York-based Conference Board reported Tuesday. […]

Chicago protesters rally for immigrant rights

Photo at top: A protester gives a speech in “Latinxs Against Trump Protest” at Cloud Gate, Chicago, Feb.25. (Mengjie Jiang/MEDILL)

By Mengjie (Jessie) Jiang Hundreds of protesters braved the wind and snow Saturday afternoon to rally at the Cloud Gate in Chicago’s Millennium Park in protest against recent Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids and anti-immigrant policies. Earlier this month, the ICE arrested nearly 50 people in Chicago as part of a national operation targeting undocumented […]

West Siders Train For New Life

Lorayne Williams operates a CNC milling machine at the training facility of the Technology & Manufacturing Association in Schaumburg. (Mengjie Jiang/Medill)

By Mengjie (Jessie) Jiang When Zachary Wright, 23, quit his job as a burger maker at McDonald’s six months ago and enrolled in Bethel New Life’s advanced manufacturing training program, he was thinking of his next 30 years. “I got tired of it because I didn’t see it as a stable career. They wanted me […]

Illinois start-up revives craft manufacturing

Yunnuen Garcia is scraping and sanding an acetate eyeglass frame in State Optical’s Vernon Hills-based factory.

By Mengjie (Jessie) Jiang Under a huge American flag, three craftsmen are scraping and sanding acetate eyeglass frames on a gritty table, one of the 75 steps to make a pair of State Optical luxury eyeframes. The Vernon Hills, Ill., manufacturer says it’s trying to redefine “Made in America” by emphasizing quality and craftsmanship over […]

Caterpillar Slumps on Weak Demand, Trims Outlook

Photo at top: A Caterpillar RP5500 multi-use generator. Caterpillar Thursday reported a lager loss in the fourth quarter as sales declined 13 percent on continued soft demand. (Courtesy of Caterpillar Inc.)

By Mengjie (Jessie) Jiang Caterpillar Inc. reported large fourth-quarter and full-year losses on Thursday due largely to three non-cash charges and higher-than-expected restructuring costs in the wake of global economic weakness. In the quarter the world’s largest construction and equipment maker’s loss ballooned to $1.17 billion, or $2 per diluted share, from a year-earlier loss […]

Illinois Tool Works Beats Estimates, Paints Strong Growth Potential

Photo at top: In the fourth quarter, revenues from Automotive OEM were up 25.8% to $773 million. (Courtesy of Illinois Tool Works Inc.)

By Mengjie (Jessie) Jiang Illinois Tool Works Inc. on Wednesday reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings boosted by a recent acquisition and strong organic growth. Net income for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31 surged 18 percent to $507 million, or $1.45 per diluted share, from $450 million, or $1.39 per share, well above the $1.37 consensus […]

Industrial Production Rose 0.8 Percent In December On Strong Utilities Gain

(Images Via PG&E )

By Mengjie(Jessie) Jiang Industrial production in the United States swung to a better-than-expected increase in December, boosted by output at utilities and manufacturers, suggesting a positive advance look at economic growth. Industrial production–a measure of output at factories, mines and utilities–rose a seasonally-adjusted 0.8 percent in December from a downward-revised 0.7 percent decline in November, […]