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Roundup: Minutes show Fed worried about global turmoil; ATI to begin layoffs of local workers in April; more

| Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016, 11:00 p.m.
In this Sept. 3, 2015 photo, a Boeing employee works on a horizontal stabilizer for a Boeing 787 Dreamliner at the company's Salt Lake City factory. On Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016, the Federal Reserve reported that industrial production for January rose by 0.5 percent.
In this Sept. 3, 2015 photo, a Boeing employee works on a horizontal stabilizer for a Boeing 787 Dreamliner at the company's Salt Lake City factory. On Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2016, the Federal Reserve reported that industrial production for January rose by 0.5 percent.

Minutes show Fed worried about global turmoil

Federal Reserve policymakers expressed growing concerns at their meeting last month about potential threats to the U.S. economy, including turbulence in financial markets, plunging oil prices and slowing growth in China and other emerging markets.

Minutes of their discussions released Wednesday showed Fed officials acknowledging that the developments made it difficult to forecast growth and inflation.

The officials said their outlook had grown more uncertain, and they stressed that the pace of any interest-rate increases would hinge on the latest economic data.

The Fed raised rates from record lows in DecĀ­ember, the first hike in nearly a decade.

ATI to begin laying off local workers in April

Allegheny Technologies will begin laying off 241 workers in Gilpin and Harrison April 3 as the Downtown-based specialty steel producer exits the business of making electrical steel.

The company detailed the layoffs, which will affect 202 workers in Gilpin and 39 in Harrison, in a notice to state officials required under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.

ATI announced the closure of its Gilpin plant in December, part of a downsizing aimed at cutting costs to deal with a downturn in the steel industry. The plant makes grain-oriented electrical steel.

Last month, ATI idled a plant in Midland and laid off 259 workers involved in stainless steel finishing.

The plants are among a dozen ATI Flat-Rolled Products facilities where employees represented by the United Steelworkers union are locked out in a labor dispute.

Housing starts fall during cold, snowy January

Cold winter weather appears to have cut into homebuilding in the Midwest and Northeast, causing the pace of construction to tumble in January.

Housing starts slipped 3.8 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.1 million homes, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

The setback occurs after months of improvement for the real estate market. For all of 2015, builders broke ground on 1.1 million properties, the most since 2007 when the housing bubble was beginning to burst into a broader recession.

Factory output rises by 0.5%, most in 6 months

U.S. factories cranked out more autos, furniture and food last month, boosting production by the most since July.

Manufacturing output rose 0.5 percent in January, after falling in four of the previous five months, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday. Overall industrial production, which includes mining and utilities, added 0.9 percent, the biggest jump in 14 months.

The data could raise hopes that manufacturing may be stabilizing after output declined for much of last year.

PPG to collaborate on Department of Energy research projects

PPG Industries Inc. said it will collaborate with the Department of Energy on two research projects involving advanced manufacturing processes.

The government will provide $300,000 to each project and Downtown-based PPG will contribute technical support valued at $100,000 per study. One project involves optimizing fiberglass production, and the other examines ways to reduce energy use in glass manufacturing.

Toyota recalls 1.1M SUVs for seat belt problem

Toyota is recalling more than 1.1 million small SUVs in the United States because the seat belts might fail in a crash.

The recall covers RAV4 SUVS from the 2006-12 model years, as well as the RAV4 electric vehicle from 2012-14.

Toyota said it's possible the belts in both second-row outside seats could come in contact with the metal seat cushion frame in a severe frontal crash. If that happens, the belts could be cut and would not restrain passengers.

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