Maine manufacturer to open factory in South Dakota

A Maine-based manufacturer of aluminum trailers plans to open a plant in South Dakota’s largest city.

The Governor’s Office of Economic Development says the Alcom LLC plant in Sioux Falls will create 20 jobs initially and up to 180 positions in the next three years.

Alcom hopes to be making trailers in early April in the former 54,000-square-foot Balance Systems Inc. building in the northern part of the city.

Alcom CEO Trapper Clark says the manufacturer has 250 employees in Winslow, Maine, and opened a plant in Missoula, Mont., last year that employs 70 people. He says Alcom is expanding to South Dakota because of building and workforce availability, its central location and its pro-business climate.

The state will provide $90,000 in workforce development money to assist with training costs.

Men’s clothing chain offers to buy Eddie Bauer brand

After months of flirting with the idea of combining with a rival, Jos. A. Bank has decided it is better suited for another men’s clothing brand.

The chain that’s known for its men’s suits and 2-for-1 sales said Friday that it struck a deal to buy the parent company of Eddie Bauer, which sells rugged outerwear. The deal was reached with Everest Topco LLC to buy Everest Holdings LLC in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $825 million.

But the acquisition, which comes as Jos. A. Bank is being pursued by Men’s Wearhouse Inc., isn’t written in stone: Jos. A. Bank said Friday that it may end the Eddie Bauer deal if it receives an acquisition offer that is superior. It would have to pay a termination fee if it accepted another offer.

The deal comes in the middle of an extended courtship between Jos. A. Bank and Men’s Wearhouse Inc.

Eurozone recovery on track but jobs remain elusive

Europe’s economy is growing faster, raising hopes for a sustainable recovery, but that may not be enough to bring sky-high levels of unemployment down anytime soon.

The economy of the euro bloc grew 0.3 percent in the October-December period from the previous quarter, the Eurostat statistics office said Friday. That was slightly more than expected and up from the third quarter’s 0.1 percent.

What Facebook knows about love, in numbers

With 1.23 billion users in all the flavors and up-and-down stages of romantic relationships, Facebook knows a thing or two about love.

For example, two people who are about to enter a relationship interact more and more on Facebook in the weeks leading up to making their coupled status official – up until 12 days before the start of the relationship, when they share an average of 1.67 posts per day.

Then, their Facebook interactions start to decline – presumably because they are spending more time together offline. But while they interact less, couples are more likely to express positive emotions toward their each other once they are in a relationship, researchers on Facebook’s data science team found.

Touching on everything from religion to age differences, Facebook has been disclosing such light-hearted findings in a series of blog posts this week.

Cold weather causes factory output to drop

Harsh winter weather led to a steep drop in U.S. factory output in January. Manufacturers made fewer cars and trucks, appliances, furniture and carpeting, as the recent cold spell ended five straight months of increased production

The Federal Reserve said factory production plunged 0.8 percent in January, reversing gains of 0.3 percent in both December and November. Automakers lost days of production because of snowstorms, as their production plummeted 5.1 percent, the report said.

Overall industrial production, which includes manufacturing, mining and utilities, fell 0.3 percent in January. Output for utilities rose 4.1 percent last month as the freezing temperatures boosted heating demand.