Maine Manufacturing buys line of lab products from GE

SANFORD – Maine Manufacturing LLC, a specialty manufacturing company, says it has acquired a line of laboratory products from General Electric’s health care unit in an effort to expand its life sciences business.

Maine Manufacturing said the products, which are used to test for contamination in the food and beverage industry, will allow it to gain new customers and distribution partners.

Maine Manufacturing previously made the products solely for GE Healthcare, but now it can expand the products to more customers.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition follows the recent purchase of the filter and membrane business of GE Osmonics.

Sanford-based Maine Manufacturing works with partner companies to develop and make products that are used for biological analysis and molecular reactions.

December shows job growth despite fears over fiscal cliff

WASHINGTON – U.S. employers added 155,000 jobs in December, a steady gain that shows hiring held up during the tense negotiations to resolve the fiscal cliff.

The solid job growth wasn’t enough to reduce the unemployment rate, which remained at 7.8 percent last month, the Labor Department said Friday. The rate for November was revised up from an initially reported 7.7 percent.

The “gain is perhaps better than it looks given that firms were probably nervous about adding workers with the fiscal cliff looming,” said Paul Ashworth, an economist at Capital Economics.

The job gains for December almost exactly matched the average monthly pace for the past two years.

For 2012, employers added 1.84 million jobs, an average of 153,000 jobs a month, roughly matching the job totals for 2011.

Tesla Motors wins court case in battle with auto dealers

Tesla Motors won its latest round in a battle against auto dealers and their associations that want to prevent the upstart electric car company from opening its own stores.

The Palo Alto, Calif., company won dismissal of a lawsuit brought by the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association that argued Tesla had violated Massachusetts law by selling cars directly to customers rather than setting up a dealership network.

Superior Court Judge Kenneth Fishman dismissed the case, saying that state law did not intend “to protect a motor vehicle dealer from an unaffiliated manufacturer operating a motor vehicle dealership.”

Fishman signed the ruling Monday and it was disclosed by Tesla on Friday.

Tesla has a dealer license from the town of Natick’s Board of Selectmen to operate a store within the municipality.

Companies increase orders for manufactured goods

WASHINGTON – U.S. companies boosted their orders in November for manufactured goods that reflect investment plans even though total orders were unchanged for the month.

Factory orders were flat in November, compared with October when orders had risen 0.8 percent, the Commerce Department said Friday. Durable goods, everything from autos to steel, rose 0.8 percent while nondurable goods fell 0.6 percent, reflecting falling petroleum prices.

Orders for core capital goods, a category considered a proxy for business investment plans, increased a solid 2.6 percent after a 3 percent rise in October that was the strongest gain in 10 months.

The back-to-back increases in core capital goods followed a period of weakness that had raised concerns about business investment, a driving force in the economic rebound.

Analysts believe that companies will boost spending further on computers and other equipment to expand and modernize now that Congress and President Obama have reached a deal on taxes that will remove uncertainty that had been weighing on business investment decisions.

— From news service reports