Entries in United States (31)


Made in America: Companies Bringing Jobs Back Home

Dynamic Graphics/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Candy lovers looking to satisfy their sweet tooth with an American-made treat received good news on Wednesday.

Mars Chocolate announced it's building its first new chocolate factory in the U.S. in 35 years.  The factory will be in Topeka, Kansas, a $250 million investment that will create 200 jobs immediately and possibly as many as 1,000 jobs in the future.

"I hope it tells Americans that we can build jobs, and we can be highly competitive and the best.  Consumed in the U.S., made in the U.S.," said Mike Wittman, vice president of supplies at Mars North America.

Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback called the new facility, expected to be completed in 2013, "sweet news" for his home state, while the executives at Mars highlighted their desire to keep this new facility as efficient as possible.

"We want this plant to be a bellwether, an icon, a role model for other companies," said Wittman.  "Our intention is to design and build a facility to meet LEEDS [Leadership in Energy and Environment Design] Gold standards for construction and building efficiency as well as to take advantage of sustainable energy resources that the state of Kansas has to offer."

And it isn't just candy that is seeing a resurgence of American-based manufacturing.  In the past 12 months, the manufacturing sector has added 173,000 new jobs. That is nearly twice the rate of jobs that have been added to the U.S. economy as a whole.

The trend can be seen across every industry.

Hair care company Farouk is assembling their hair dryers and curling irons in Houston rather than China, creating 1,200 jobs in the process.  Computer chip maker Global Foundries recently built a $7 billion facility in Saratoga, New York, and has already created 550 jobs.  They expect that number could rise to 1,400.  And Milwaukee-based Master Lock, the largest lock maker in the U.S., has transferred 75 to 100 manufacturing jobs from China to Milwaukee in the past 12 months.

"We can't afford to have labor and management fighting all the time, at a time when we're competing against Germany and China and other countries that want to sell goods all around the world," President Obama said during a press conference Wednesday.  "There are more steps that we can take right now that would help businesses create jobs here in America.  Today, our administration is trying to take those steps."

And it will take lots of steps: 2.3 million manufacturing jobs have been lost since the economic crash.  So far just 240,000 have come back.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


More Wealthy People in Asia Than Europe, Says New Report

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Asia can now claim more millionaires than all of Europe combined, and the rapidly climbing number wealthy people in places like China is closing the gap with North America's number of millionaires and billionaires, according to the latest annual Merrill Lynch-Capgemini World Wealth Report.

Altogether, the number of millionaires and billionaires in the world was up 8.3 percent from 2009 to a total wealth of $42.7 trillion in the hands of the richest people in the world in 2010.

Although the average yearly income in many Asian economies is still very low -- in China it is still only $3,600 -- the number of high net worth individuals (HNWI) in the Asia-Pacific region expanded 9.7 percent to 3.3 million.

In Europe, there are 3.1 million HWNI's. North America still leads the pack of millionaires and billionaires with 3.4 million, but our growth rate is significantly lower than Asia's.

Along with those rising numbers of wealthy people comes a rising number of millionaires spending those millions.

"China's rich people have become what they are now only in the past 10 to 15 years," Chinese demolition tycoon and philanthropist Chen Guangiao, told ABC News last year.

"The thing that's unusual is that 30 years ago, there really weren't people of great wealth, so what you have is first-generation fortunes," billionaire Bill Gates said at a news conference in Shanghai last September.

One of the ultimate symbols of success is a private executive jet. Not surprisingly, sales are taking off in Asia, especially in China.

A $1.4 billion yacht port is currently under production in the Chinese city of Tianjin. The port, to become the largest in China at its completion, will hold 750 berths to accommodate luxury yachts up to 295 feet long.

However, the United States remains the world's largest yacht market with 17 million privately owned recreational boats, but that may change in the current trends in the movement of the world's wealth continue.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Has Facebook's Popularity Peaked in the US?

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(PALO ALTO, Calif.) -- Nothing is going to stop Facebook from reaching 700 million users but what's stopping its growth in the U.S. and Canada?

That's the question facing the social media giant, which is still adding millions of new users each month.

However, Inside Facebook, a research and marketing group, says that the social networking site has experienced an overall growth slowdown in April and May -- the first time that's happened for two straight months.

The loss has been most evident in the U.S. with Facebook losing six million users in May although the site still boasts about 150 million people nationally, or just under half the entire population.  Canada also saw a decline as well as the United Kingdom, Norway and Russia.

Yet, Facebook manages to make up for these losses in emerging markets such as Brazil, India, Indonesia and Mexico.

Responding to the Inside Facebook study, Facebook said, "We are very pleased with our growth and with the way people are engaged with Facebook.  More than 50 percent of our active users log on to Facebook on any given day."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


India Places $4.1M Order with Boeing; More Jobs Likely to Follow

PRNewsFoto/Continental Airlines(NEW YORK) -- India approved plans to purchase 10 Boeing aircraft for $4.1 billion, reports The Wall Street Journal.  The transaction, which include 10 C-17 Globemaster III aircraft, is India's largest military deal with the United States.

According to the WSJ report, there is no word on when the agreement might be finalized, but a spokesman for the Indian Defense Ministry says the terms include the option to order six additional C-17s in the future.

The deal is likely to produce more than 20,000 jobs for Boeing's facility in Long Beach, Calif., according to White House estimations.  

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


New Sanctions Unlikely to Affect Flow of Venezuelan Oil to US

Comstock Images/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- On Tuesday, the Obama administration slapped new sanctions on Venezuela’s state-run oil company PDVSA, even though Venezuela ranks fourth among countries which export petroleum to the United States.

U.S. officials stress that the sanctions are specifically designed to allow oil shipments to the United States and world markets to continue while making it harder for Venezuela to support Iran’s energy sector. The new measures are also unlikely to lead Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez to retaliate by cutting off petroleum sales to the United States, according to government officials and oil analysts.

The new sanctions on PDVSA and six other foreign companies penalize them for doing business with Iran’s energy sector in violation of U.S. law. PDVSA owns Citgo; however, the sanctions do not prohibit petroleum exports to the United States and deals conducted by any subsidies. Rather, the sanctions prohibit dealings with the United States government and aim to make it harder for Iran to import the refined petroleum products it needs.

Venezuela is on average the fourth-largest source of petroleum imported to the United States, according to the Department of Energy, and while it might seem that Venezuela could hold that over the United States’ head, State Department officials say the United States is one of the few countries that can use and process the type of heavy crude that Venezuela produces.

As much as the United States needs Venezuela’s oil, Venezuela’s leaders need the revenue from massive petroleum sales to the United States.

If Chavez were to cut off oil from the U.S., the administration believes he would be hard-pressed to find another buyer elsewhere, and certainly not one large enough to make up for the loss, according to a State Department official involved in the drafting of the sanctions.

Since Chavez relies on oil revenues to fund social programs that he uses to maintain political support, the Obama administration feels he would be shooting himself in the foot by cutting the flow of oil to the United States, the official said.

In announcing the sanctions Tuesday, the State Department said the government’s analysis believes it will not have an effect on oil prices.

So far, that prediction appears to be holding.

“If it was going to really effect the U.S. supply of oil, we’d see the markets going crazy -- that’s not happening,” said Andy Lipow, a Houston-based oil market analyst for Lipow Oil Associates.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Manufacturing in America: US Set for a 'Manufacturing Renaissance'

Dynamic Graphics/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- In the next five years, the U.S. will experience a "manufacturing renaissance," according to a new analysis.

As wages in China increase, flexible work rules and government incentives in the U.S. will make America one of the cheapest places to manufacture goods in the developed world, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) analysis suggests.

"If the trend plays out, I think you'll see manufacturing growing and expanding in the U.S.," said Michael Zinser, one of the authors of BCG's analysis on manufacturing. "What we're expecting is that companies will step back and rethink their networks, rethink their supply chains."

Chinese wage rates likely will continue to grow by 15 to 20 percent year over year, Zinser said. When the increase in wages is combined with the increasing value of the yuan, the wage gap between the U.S. and China is narrowing rapidly.

"China is no longer expected to be the default low-cost manufacturing location for those companies who are looking to supply the U.S. market," Zinser told ABC News. "What we would expect to see is a convergence in terms of the wage rates to what we're seeing in the U.S. today."

Harold Sirkin, lead author of the analysis on manufacturing, expects the convergence to occur "by around 2015."

While some companies will decide to manufacture in the U.S., others will look for lower wages in other countries, Zinser said.

But one of the advantages U.S. manufacturers have, according to BCG, is that the work force is becoming more flexible.

Kevin Sauder, president and CEO of Sauder Furniture, recently started sourcing component parts regionally, a process his purchasing team called "insourcing."

"Supporting local and American jobs is one factor that gets considered," Sauder told ABC News. "It's not the main factor, but it's one thing that gets considered. All things being equal, we would always prefer to go with a regional manufacturer. ... Using regional components improved our ability to be flexible in new product development."

The change allowed the company to get more contracts, Sauder said, because it was able to build prototypes more quickly for stores such as Walmart and Ikea because the component pieces arrived weeks earlier.

Even though the U.S. manufacturing sector maybe be poised for a comeback, Zinser cautioned that it did not mean China is on the decline.

"China is going to continue to be a major global player," said Zinser. "China is still a large market and many companies are going to want to continue supplying that market."

U.S. consumers should expect industries such as construction equipment and appliances to be impacted first, he said, while industries such as textiles and consumer electronics may never be affected.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Report: $1-2 Trillion in Chinese Investments Could Create American Jobs

ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A new report from the Asia Society out Wednesday says that Chinese companies will be working to put $1-2 trillion of that country’s wealth to work outside its shores in the coming decade. And, if the U.S. is open to Chinese investment, it could result in hundreds of thousands of new jobs here.
"If just five percent of China's expected outflows target the United States over the coming decade, the numbers will be enormous," the report's authors, economists Daniel Rosen and Thilo Hanemann, said.
The authors of the report say Chinese firms in the United States have already created more than 10,000 American jobs and that direct investment by the Chinese has more than doubled in the U.S. in the past two years.
But fear of foreign investment in the U.S., especially from economic competitors like China, might keep the door closed to getting cash to U.S. shores.
"Japan's first investments in the United States during the 1980s were almost as controversial as China's but in the following years, Japanese U.S. affiliates put $1 trillion into America and today employ nearly 700,000 Americans," the authors said.
At a Washington D.C., press conference to release the report, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke took the opportunity to criticize current Chinese government policies which keep American firms from getting into China’s massive and quick-growing market.
He urged China to lift restrictions it places on American investments in China. Locke said there is an "imbalance of opportunity," with Chinese companies freer to operate here than U.S. firms are in China.
Many Chinese companies are wary of investing in the United States because of the political outcry caused by some previous high-profile forays, such as Chinese oil company CNOOC's unsuccessful attempt to acquire Unocal in 2005.
Much of that has to do with an incorrect suspicion held by many U.S. officials that "because China has so many state-owned enterprises, market forces and profit motives do not necessarily apply in that country," Rosen and Hanemann said.
"Therefore, they suspect that if a Chinese firm is coming to America, it must be for some political purpose rather than simply to make money. This conclusion is wrong and if we are to maximize U.S. interests, such misapprehensions must be corrected," they said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Donald Trump: ‘China Is Raping This Country’

Mike Stobe/Getty Images(NEWINGTON, N.H.) -- Donald Trump came to a defense contracting firm on Wednesday, condemning in the sharpest possible words President Obama’s fiscal policies and the country’s economic competitiveness with China.

“China is raping this country,” Trump told employees at Wilcox Industries, a company that manufactures tactical equipment for U.S. military forces.

As a potential presidential candidate Trump has been critical of the Obama administration’s approach to the Asian economic powerhouse. At a news conference at the airport just after landing his helicopter in New Hampshire, Trump said China is taking over the world because its leaders are smarter.

Trump also vowed that, if elected, he would “put the country back to work.”

“I’m a worker,” Trump told a crowd of about 100 people in Newington.

“When this country became great was the industrial revolution,” he said.  “We are now the opposite of the industrial revolution, and pretty soon we are going to fall off a cliff.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Deficit Commission Is 'Shock Therapy,' Sen. Conrad Says

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- A top senator on the president's deficit commission is standing strong in the face of fierce backlash against the commission's draft recommendations.

"You know, a certain amount of this is shock therapy," Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., told ABC News on Sunday. "There are different options and, of course, what everybody has fastened on is the most extreme of the options. But, look, the important thing for people to know is that we are borrowing 40 cents of every dollar we spend. That's utterly unsustainable. It can't continue much longer, so it's got to be dealt with."

Asked if he would be willing to get on board with one of the more controversial parts of the proposal -- eliminating so-called tax expenditures -- Conrad said, "There is one proposal that eliminates all the tax preferences, all the tax deductions, all the tax exclusions, and uses 90 percent of the revenue to reduce rates," he said. "I don't favor that approach.”

"Fundamentally, if we're going to raise revenue, I don't think the way to do it is to raise rates. I think the way to do it is to eliminate some of the loopholes that exist in the system," the senator said.

The co-chairmen of National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, Wednesday released a draft proposal for reducing the nation's deficit and debt. It called for substantial cuts in spending, cutbacks in Medicare and Social Security payments, along with some tax increases.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


President Obama Announces Trade Deals with India

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(MUMBAI, India) -- President Obama announced Saturday business deals between U.S. and Indian companies totaling near $10 billion in U.S. exports, which the White House has said will lead to more than 50,000 American jobs.

“We can do much better,” Obama said, “today I am pleased to announce that we will work with India to fundamentally reform our controls on exports which will allow greater cooperation in a range of high tech sectors and strengthen our non proliferation efforts.”

President Obama said that the “old stereotypes” of Americans viewing India as a land of call-centers, and Indians viewing American companies as a threat ignores today’s reality.

“We don’t simply welcome your rise as a nation and a people. We ardently support it. We want to invest in it,” Obama said at the U.S.-India Business Council Summit in Mumbai, calling increasing trade and investment between the two countries a “win-win” proposition for both.

“There are many Americans whose only experience with trade and globalization has been a shuddered factory or a job that was shipped overseas.”

But the president’s visit – his longest to any one single country of his presidency – aims to remedy just that that perception.

“In 2010 trade between our countries is not just a one way street of American jobs and companies moving to India. It is a dynamic two-way relationship that is creating jobs, growth and higher living standards in both our countries.”

Relating this strategy back to the domestic concerns over the economy largely expressed in the outcome of Tuesday’s election, Obama said that selling exports in India, one of the fastest growing markets in the world is really a “jobs strategy,” for America.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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