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U.S. FACTORY PRODUCTION SLOWS IN SEPTEMBER, BUT UP FOR QUARTER: U.S. industrial production decreased 0.2% in September as manufacturing output declined for the second straight month, according to the Federal Reserve’s monthly summary.
In September, the index for utilities rose 1.3%, while manufacturing output slowed 0.1% and mining fell 2%. Still, for the third quarter as a whole, total industrial production rose at an annual rate of 1.8% and manufacturing output increased 2.5%.
A strong gain for motor vehicles and parts contributed substantially to the quarterly increases. At 107.1% of its 2012 average, total industrial production in September was 0.4% above its year-earlier level. Capacity utilization for the industrial sector fell 0.3 percentage point in September to 77.5%, a rate that is 2.6 percentage points below its long-run (1972–2014) average.
ELECTRIC COOPERATIVES TO PROVIDE SOLAR SYSTEM FOR TENNESSEE MANUFACTURING PLANT: Today’s Power Inc., the renewable energy arm of Arkansas Electric Cooperatives Inc., said it has reached agreement to provide two-250 kilowatt AC solar arrays for Electric Research & Manufacturing Cooperative (ERMCO) at its transformer manufacturing facility in Dyersburg, Tenn. The solar energy produced by the systems will be used to produce transformers at the facility.
According to company officials, the solar project will include approximately 840-400 watt panels and 840 reflector panels and produce nearly 12.4 million kilowatt-hours over a 25 year life.
BAXTER INTERNATIONAL TO ADD 225 JOBS AT MOUNTAIN HOME FACTORY: On Thursday (Oct. 15), Baxter International announced it would expand its north central Arkansas operations to add a factory line to produce disposable medical devices. The 225 new jobs will be full-time and will be added over the next five years, according to the company.
MICRO PLASTICS TO ADD 79 ARKANSAS JOBS IN $2.4 MILLION EXPANSION: Micro Plastics is expanding its Arkansas operations with a $2.4 million investment in the north central Arkansas town of Melbourne that is estimated to add 79 jobs in five years. The company, which produces threaded nylon fasteners, will begin production at the expanded plant in the first quarter of 2016. Read more here.
USDA AWARDS $550,000 GRANT TO ARKANSAS PROGRAMS TO RESEARCH ORGANIC RICE: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently awarded a grant to several Arkansas-based research programs to advance organic rice production in the United States.
The grant – worth $555,000 – will help increase organic rice production in the southern regions of the U.S. through the development of economically viable organic practices. The funds will go to researchers at the USDA’s Dale Bumpers National Rice Research Center, University of Arkansas Rice Research and Extension Center, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Department of Agriculture, and several out-of-state schools and groups.