LOCAL BUSINESS

Entrepreneur program set

The Northeast Ohio chapter of the National Black MBA Association will start a four-day series of seminars for entrepreneurs and those interested in becoming entrepreneurs starting Saturday.

All sessions of the 2012 Global Entrepreneurship Seminar Series will be at JumpStart, 6701 Carnegie Ave., Cleveland. Registration is open and anyone can participate.

The series is intended to offer help with business plans and information about how to acquire capital and manage resources.

The opening reception will be at 6 p.m. Friday at Phil the Fire Restaurant in Beachwood.

The series begins at 9 a.m. Saturday. The second session is April 12; the third, on April 26; and final sessions and a closing luncheon with speaker Garrick Doss, on April 28.

National Black MBA Association members can register for all four seminar days for $40; others, $55. Single-day registration is $15.

Go to www.clevelandblackmbas.org to review the series seminar descriptions and agenda and to register. Email clevelandblackmbas@yahoo.com or contact Starlyn Priest, programs chair, at 216-235-4664.

OSHA to penalize Falls plant

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is proposing fining Cuyahoga Falls-based Jay-Em Aerospace $87,200 for what it said were 18 safety and health violations.

Jay-Em Aerospace makes truck wheels and aircraft wheels and brakes.

OSHA said it started investigating Jay-Em in November as part of a national program to prevent workplace amputations.

The agency said it found one “willful violation” for not providing adequate machine guarding on equipment at the Cuyahoga Falls facility.

OSHA said it found 12 other serious safety violations, four serious health violations and an “other-than-serious” health violation.

Jay-Em has 15 days from receipt of the OSHA notice to comply, request an informal hearing or contest the findings.

AUTO INDUSTRY

Toyota increasing production

Toyota expects auto sales in North America to rebound, so it’s investing $80 million in a Canadian factory so it can build more of the popular RAV4 small sport utility vehicles.

The investment in Woodstock, Ontario, near Toronto will create 400 jobs early next year, when the added factory capacity comes online. Toyota plans to raise the plant’s output by one-third to 200,000 vehicles per year, the company said.

RAV4 sales in the United States are down 5 percent through February at nearly 22,500. It ranked 20th among the best-selling vehicles in the nation last year at just over 132,000. But sales last year were down almost 23 percent, due largely to the March earthquake and tsunami in Japan that slowed Toyota’s factories and caused dealers to run short of models.

Many industry analysts and automakers are expecting total U.S. sales to rebound this year to more than 14 million vehicles. Last year’s sales were only 12.8 million.

ECONOMY

Chief executives see growth

A growing number of chief executives at large companies say they are more optimistic about the economy and plan to step up hiring. The brighter view from the boardroom comes after the best three months of job growth in two years.

The Business Roundtable said a survey of its chief executive members found that 42 percent expect to hire over the next six months. That’s up from 35 percent three months ago.

Nearly half plan to spend more on machinery and other capital equipment and more than 80 percent expect sales to rise.

The chief executives’ overall outlook on the economy improved sharply from the end of last year. The group’s outlook index jumped to 96.9 in the current quarter. That’s up from 77.9 in previous quarter and the highest reading since last spring.

The group is an association of the leaders of the 200 biggest U.S. companies.

More durable goods ordered

Companies ordered more long-lasting goods last month, showing businesses are willing to buy equipment and machinery after an investment tax credit was halved.

The Commerce Department said orders for durable goods rose 2.2 percent in February after a steep drop in January. Greater demand for machinery, computers, autos and aircraft drove much of the increase.

Orders for so-called “core” capital goods, a good measure of business investment plans, rose 1.2 percent. Demand for these goods fell in January by the most in a year, after the full tax credit expired.

A durable good is expected to last at least three years. Orders can fluctuate sharply from month to month. In February, durable goods orders totaled $211.8 billion, 42 percent above the recession low. But orders remain nearly 14 percent below their peak in December 2007.

Compiled from staff and wire reports