WSJ: Prime-Line in Malvern Among Cautious Businesses Slow to Add Jobs

The Wall Street Journal's Theo Francis (a former Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reporter) examines why American companies are so cautious about adding jobs even as factories run at capacity.

The piece begins with an anecdote from Malvern, where Prime-Line Inc. makes medium- and light-density fiberboard moulding and millwork for nationwide distributors including Lowe's. You might remember that the company announced in November an expansion and plans to add 50 workers.

Francis talks to Brian Feeney, Prime-Line's CEO:

Mr. Feeney is just now taking the leap of faith to invest in the housing recovery that has kept his plants at capacity after the housing crash six years ago. "It's that beaten-dog mentality," said Mr. Feeney, Prime-Line's chief executive. "We were thinking, 'this is too good to be true.' "

As public companies continue to unveil their year-end results this week and offer insight into prospects for 2014, the future of many of America's job seekers rides on how many executives are willing to take the plunge Mr. Feeney took last fall. The news so far is mixed.

Francis finds that companies across the country are balking at hiring, afraid that the fragile economic recovery will falter. There's more on what other companies are doing, as well as Feeney 2014 and 2015 growth expectations, in Francis' full story.

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