manufacturing

Courtesy of Joy Global

Komatsu announced Thursday that it is purchasing mining equipment maker Joy Global of Milwaukee in a deal worth about $3.7 billion.

The Japan-based Komatsu makes construction, mining and military equipment.

Joy Global has 1,000 employees in Milwaukee and 12,000 worldwide.  

Arthur Thomas / Biz Times

We know that Milwaukee’s manufacturing industry has changed greatly since the days when much of the big things in America were assembled here.  The transformation of the Menomonee Valley and the 35th Street corridor are both testaments to that shift.

But one hold-out from those days has been the industry that builds mining equipment. Two major companies employed a substantial workforce to do that job. But more recently, that industry has seen its fortunes erode as well, with jobs eliminated outright or moved elsewhere.

Mitch Teich / WUWM

No matter what our DIY aptitude, nearly all of us have a simple tool kit around the house to take on basic jobs. You probably have a hammer, a couple of screwdrivers, a pair of pliers, an odd assortment of hex keys for your IKEA and Target furniture and often, an adjustable wrench.

One of the main frustrations users have with the adjustable wrench is trying to keep it tightened down on the bolt they're working on.

U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr

The Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act, or FSMA, is being touted as the most sweeping reform from the regulatory body in the last 70 years. This fall, the FDA will start enforcing some of the new regulations.

These regulations hold food manufacturers and suppliers to higher sanitary standards. The move is meant to shift the industry to a prevention model, instead of reacting to outbreaks caused by contaminated food.

Marti Mikkelson

Despite the improved economy, local manufacturers still struggle to find skilled workers. Some company leaders have even been visiting high schools to encourage young people to consider a career in the skilled trades.

One new high school grad who did not need coaxing to head into the skilled trades is Gary Large. He grew up on a farm in Port Washington.

Marti Mikkelson

Many employers in the U.S., including in Milwaukee, struggle to find qualified workers. According to a recent Manpower survey, one in three employers are having a tough time even though the economy has improved.

The greatest area of need remains in the skilled trades, including construction.

Susan Bence

The Milwaukee area could get an infusion of federal money -- or at least advice -- on how to grow its manufacturing sector.

Kenall Manufacturing plans to move its offices and factory to Kenosha, as soon as the company and Wisconsin leaders agree on a package of financial incentives.

When it comes to creating manufacturing jobs, Wisconsin ranks near the top, according to the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation. The state is number five, below only Michigan, Texas, Indiana and Ohio.

The statistics are for December, 2009 - March, 2013 and are contained in story posted by CNBC.

President Obama
Michael Reynolds -Pool/Getty Images

President Obama spoke to a cheering crowd of Master Lock employees Wednesday. The president cited the central city company as an example of what he intends to promote – manufacturing growth in the U. S. As WUWM’s Marti Mikkelson reports, Master Lock decided to bring 100 jobs back here from China.