Lift manufacturer Genie Industries eliminated most temporary positions and laid off 120 full-time workers Tuesday, including unspecified layoffs in its Redmond and Moses Lake facilities.

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Pacific Northwest

Manufacturing

Genie Industries lays off 120

Lift manufacturer Genie Industries eliminated most temporary positions and laid off 120 full-time workers Tuesday, including unspecified layoffs in its Redmond and Moses Lake facilities.

The Redmond company, owned by heavy-equipment manufacturer Terex, based in Westport, Conn., is not disclosing how many temporary jobs were cut.

The temporary positions were run through staffing agency AeroTek, which declined to comment.

Genie’s Redmond and Moses Lake plants, which produce aerial lifts, articulating booms and scissor lifts, are still open and employing about 3,000 people.

Genie-brand products are also made in England and Italy, and in April the company announced plans to begin manufacturing in China.

Spokeswoman Melinda Zimmerman-Smith said Genie’s business is cyclical like the industries it serves, mainly construction. “It’s an unstable market with increasing fuel and raw-material costs,” she said Thursday.

Aerospace

Program delays cost Boeing $250M

Boeing said Thursday that it will take a $250 million pretax charge for previously acknowledged delays on its Airborne Early Warning & Control (AEW&C) program.

The aerospace company said the second-quarter charge of approximately 22 cents a share will not affect its guidance for the full year.

Boeing blamed the AEW&C program’s delays on “subsystem development issues on the electronic-warfare and ground-support systems as well as additional time required for integration testing.”

The company said it expects to deliver the first two of Australia’s six aircraft with interim capability in July 2009, four months later than previously scheduled. These two aircraft and the remaining four aircraft are expected to be delivered in 2010 with full capability, Boeing said.

Biotechnology

Calistoga starts cancer-drug trial

Calistoga Pharmaceuticals said Thursday that it has started an early-stage clinical trial for its lead drug therapy, a compound that aims to treat some forms of leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The move marks the first oncology trial for the Seattle company, which was founded with technology derived from Icos, a Bothell biotech company acquired last year by Eli Lilly.

Calistoga’s lead compound, known as CAL-101, will also be studied for the treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, the company said.

Dow Chemical

$15B deal made for Rohm & Haas

Dow Chemical has agreed to buy rival Rohm & Haas for more than $15 billion in cash in a deal that Dow hopes will fuel its growth in a more lucrative wing of the chemical-making business.

“The addition of Rohm and Haas’ portfolio is game-changing for Dow,” Chairman and Chief Executive Andrew Liveris said Thursday.

The $78-per-share deal includes money from a Kuwaiti sovereign wealth fund and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. The price represents a 74 percent premium to Philadelphia-based Rohm and Haas’ closing share price of $44.83 on Wednesday. The Haas family, descendants of one of the company’s founders, holds about 65 million shares, a 33 percent stake worth nearly $5.1 billion based on the purchase price.

Chief Financial Officer Geoffery Merszei said the quality and reputation of Rohm and Haas’ businesses, brands, products and technologies — as well as its work force — make the premium worth paying.

Labor Department

Fewer sign up for jobless benefits

Fewer people signed up for unemployment benefits last week, but the dip was not enough to overcome continuing weakness in the country’s labor market.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that new applications filed for unemployment insurance fell by a seasonally adjusted 58,000 to 346,000 for the week ending July 5. A year ago, the figure was lower, at 304,000, showing a deterioration in employment conditions.

A government analyst cautioned that last week’s drop did not suggest a sudden improvement in the country’s overall economic health. The decline was exaggerated because of adjustment problems related to temporary shutdowns at auto plants for retooling new assembly lines. The unadjusted, or actual raw figures, showed an increase of 30,000 claims for last week.

Employers have been chafing under high energy prices and fallout from the housing and credit crises. As they try to cope with those problems and squeezed profits, they have cut back on hiring and other types of investments.

General Electric

Lighting, appliance businesses will go

General Electric announced Thursday that it wants to spin off its signature lighting and appliance businesses, the latest aggressive move by one of the world’s largest companies to reshape its portfolio to focus on faster-growth businesses.

The consumer and industrial businesses have 50,000 of GE’s 300,000 employees, sales of $13.3 billion and a profit of slightly more than $1 billion last year.

GE, an industrial, financial-services and media conglomerate, said it continues to explore all options for the consumer and industrial operations, but believes it makes the most sense to spin off the entire unit to existing shareholders, keeping its leadership teams and employees intact. The company hopes to complete the move next year.

Compiled by Seattle Times staff and The Associated Press