Industrial production dips in February despite manufacturing gain


By Sony Kassam Industrial production in the United States declined in February, as sagging oil production combined with lower utility output to mask an upturn in manufacturing. Industrial production slumped 0.5 percent last month after rising 0.8 percent in January, according to a Federal Reserve report released Wednesday. That’s a deeper decline than the 0.3 […]

Manufacturing educators see career opportunities despite overall sector contraction

By H. Will Racke Originally published on March 15, 2016. Updated on April 13, 2016. Even though Illinois today supports fewer manufacturing jobs than it did before the Great Recession, Chicago-area vocational trainers see a persistent, unmet need for skilled machinists and industrial maintenance technicians.  Their starting salaries are in the $50,000 range, and with experience […]

Federal Signal shares hit hard as gloomy guidance spooks investors

By H. Will Racke Even though it surpassed fourth quarter earnings expectations, Federal Signal Corp. saw its shares nosedive Monday after the manufacturing company issued pessimistic guidance for its 2016 performance. The share price of the Oak Brook, Ill.-based maker of safety and environmental-services equipment dropped by 22 percent, closing the day at $11.86. Investors […]

Caterpillar shares rise on upside earnings

By H. Will Racke Caterpillar Inc. managed to surpass Wall Street’s fourth-quarter expectations even as fierce global headwinds battered earnings. In the latest quarter, the heavy-equipment titan showed a net loss of $87 million, or 15 cents per diluted share, in sharp contrast with earnings of $757 million, or $1.23 per share, in the final […]

ITW profits hold steady despite demand slowdown

By H. Will Racke Illinois Tool Works Inc. managed to beat earnings expectations for the fourth quarter even as profits remained flat amid a challenging market for industrial goods. In the latest quarter, the Glenview, Ill.-based manufacturing conglomerate posted net income of $450 million, or $1.23 per diluted share, in a performance that was identical […]

State budget deadlock jeopardizes manufacturing industry

By Lawrence Rigby Springfield’s inability to pass a budget for fiscal 2016 threatens to make life harder for the already hard-pressed Illinois manufacturing industry. The deadlock could cause manufacturers to lose a Research and Development tax credit that encourages the innovation of new R&D projects. The possible loss of the 6.5 percent tax credit, due […]

Ailing markets signal hard times ahead for Caterpillar


By H. Will Racke Last year was a rough one for Caterpillar Inc. Unfortunately for the heavy machinery giant, a cyclical downturn in the global industries it supplies could make 2016 as bad or worse. The Peoria, Ill.-based firm is the world’s largest manufacturer of construction, mining and energy extraction equipment. Its dominant position in […]