SC business briefs, Jan. 3

January 3, 2014 

Some Boeing machinists could make $100,000 under deal

Boeing’s contract proposal to machinists in the Puget Sound region would likely increase some workers’ annual base salaries to more than $100,000 in the coming years.

The offer going to a vote this week would slow the growth of machinists’ wages starting in 2016, but workers would still get regular cost-of-living adjustments and an additional 1 percent raise every other year.

If historical cost-of-living changes continue, about 400 machinists in Washington state would surpass $100,000 in base pay in 2020, not counting shift differentials or overtime. The most common class of machinists would reach $82,000 at that point.

Local union leaders are recommending that machinists reject the proposal, in part because it would slow how fast wages grow.

But the contract would secure work on Boeing’s new 777X in the region at a time when 22 states, including South Carolina, are vying for those jobs.

FireEye acquires Mandiant

In a deal that may have broad repercussions for companies and governments fending off sophisticated hackers and state-sponsored digital attacks, FireEye, a provider of security software, has acquired Mandiant, a company known for emergency responses to computer network breaches, including one in South Carolina.

The deal, in both cash and stock, is worth more than $1 billion, based on the current value of shares in FireEye.

The acquisition merges two darlings in the $67 billion global computer security market that together could form a formidable competitor to antivirus giants like Symantec and Intel’s McAfee. David DeWalt, FireEye’s chairman and chief executive, ran McAfee before it was sold to Intel in 2010.

Mandiant is best known for sending in emergency teams to root out attackers who have implanted software into computer systems. South Carolina hired the firm after hackers stole financial information belonging to 6.4 million taxpayers and their kids, and businesses from the S.C. Department of Revenue in 2012.

Manufacturing, construction growth spur 2014 optimism

Expectations are rising for a stronger U.S. economy in 2014 after reports Thursday showed solid growth in manufacturing and construction spending at the end of last year.

Factory activity in December stayed near a 21/2-year high. Americans are buying more cars and homes, increasing demand for steel, furniture and other manufactured goods. Manufacturers have boosted hiring to meet that demand and may add jobs at a healthier pace this year.

And builders stepped up spending on home construction in November, despite increases in borrowing rates. That suggests many remain confident in the housing recovery.

The economy has had bursts of healthy growth since the recession ended in June 2009, only to be followed by disappointing slowdowns. But many analysts think growth is now more sustainable.

The Institute for Supply Management, a trade group of purchasing managers, said Thursday that its index of manufacturing activity slipped to 57 in December from 57.3 the previous month. But that’s still the second-highest reading since April 2011. And any reading above 50 signals growth.

The Associated Press The New York Times contributed.

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