2009-01-02 / Business

Briefs

by John Temple Ligon

Hard times Seven of the measures the S.C. House of Representatives is taking to reduce costs to address the 20% cut, so far, in total funding: (1) hiring freeze, leaving six full- time staff positions vacant; (2) employee pay reduced by two percent; (3) employees will undergo a mandatory 10- day furlough without pay; (4) House members furloughed at least three weeks of next session; (5) reduced travel and subsistence reimbursement for House members; (6) reduced printing and supply costs; (7) reduced working hours of part- time employees.

More hard times... Crescent Resources, a joint venture with Charlotte- based Duke Energy and Morgan Stanley Real Estate, sold a South Tampa, Fla., 176- unit apartment complex for $11.35 million, less than half the $27 million it paid for the development three years ago.

...lead to good times for others Carter- Haston Real Estate Services both sold and repurchased the 176- unit South Tampa apartment complex, fulfilling the old recession- era adage, "Buy low, sell high, and buy back for even less than the original cost. Then collect rents and hold till the recession passes."

Speaking of Duke Energy Duke CEO Jim Rogers has been recognized by Newsweekmagazine as one of the country's 50 most powerful people. Duke's revenue for the third quarter was $3.51 billion. The list appears in the magazine's Jan. 5 edition.

Poor projections across the country According to a poll from the National Federation of Independent Business Research Foundation, one in four small- business owners don't expect their businesses to make it through the recession. For the third quarter this year, the U.S. economy shrank 0.5 percent, the largest contraction since the recession of 2001. The current quarter, the fourth, can see an economic contraction of maybe 6 percent, according to some national analysts.

Now that it's 2009 Charlotte- based Wachovia's shareholders approved their merger with San Francisco- based Wells Fargo & Co. on Tuesday, Dec. 23, making way for the deal to close before the end of 2008.

How low can McClatchy stock go? McClatchy Co., owner of 30 daily and 50 non-daily papers (to include The State and

The Charlotte Observer) had a stock value of more than $70 per share four years ago. On Tuesday, during the trading day, share value fell to $0.75.

Putting good money after good money Now that the USC Athletic Dept., through the SEC, has cut its lucrative deals with CBS and ESPN, the department has committed to boosting academics by contributing $1 million annually for 15 years.

Learning to make money This past fall, USC's College of Engineering and Computing enrolled 1,454 undergraduates, which compares favorably with the 1,258 in the fall of 2006. The college has targeted an enrollment of 1,600 undergraduates by 2010.

Population growth South Carolina grew by 1.7% between July 2007 and July 2008, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The state's population is estimated to be 4,479,800 people. North Carolina grew by 2% during the same time frame, the same growth rate as Texas and Colorado. The nation's fastest growing state is Utah with a population gain of 2.5%, while the only two states to lose population were Michigan and Rhode Island.

High ratings A.M. Best Co. recently rated BlueCross BlueShield of S.C. at its highest level, A+ (Superior), which the company has held for eight years. Only one other company in the country continues to hold the A+ rating.

Columbia covered by The New York Times

On Monday, December 22, there was a

front- page story on Columbia in The New

York Times. The writer was Peter Goodman. As Goodman put it, "According to a range of indicators assembled by Moody's Economy.com - from job growth to change in household worth - this metropolitan area came closer than any other to being a microcosm of the nation over the last decade."

SCANA selected for Standard & Poor's 500 SCANA released in the market another two million common shares. At the time of the offering, which was scheduled for after the market closed on Wednesday, December 30, SCANA was first listed as part of the S&P 500 Index, which covers about 75 percent of the American equity market by capitalization.

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