2009-06-12 / Business


by John Temple Ligon

Ford does almost all right Chrysler can't go over to Fiat until the government justice branch says so. GM can stand for Government Motors while it works its way out of bankruptcy. The third of the Big Three, Ford, is moving forward. Ford sold 155,954 units in the U.S. in May, up 20 percent from April. The company sold 19,786 Fusion sedans for May, which was a gain of 9.4 percent over May a year ago. For this past May, Lincoln sold 1,553 Town Cars, up 103.3 percent from May 2008. Ford's Volvo sales for May are up 9 percent over May 2008.

Columbia does almost all Wright In the Columbia Museum of Art, on Tuesday, June 16, beginning with a reception at 5:30 pm and a producer's discussion at 6:00 pm, there will be a screening of the documentary film, "Sacred Spaces, the Houses of Worship Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright." The film covers the 10 built religious structures designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, arguably the world's most important architect of the 20C. Of particular interest is his Unitarian Church in Oak Park, Ill., a recurring topic in the local lecture series sponsored by the Wren Institute for Urban Research.

South Financial The South Financial Group, the parent of Carolina First, has announced it will stay put in its downtown Greenville headquarters. Under construction on a 60- acre campus south of town, close to Clemson University's automotive research center, are two office buildings with about 235,000 square feet of floor area and a 41,000- square- foot conference center, all for $88 million and all originally intended as a headquarters for South Financial. With the decision to stay in downtown Greenville, South Financial plans to sell the campus. South Financial expects to report a second- quarter charge of $16 million on top of the already reported five consecutive quarterly losses totaling almost $660 million.

Getting better, barely Columbia had an unemployment rate of 8.5 percent in April, better than the 8.8 percent in March.

One among 10 out of 2,000 Chosen from nearly 2,000 applicants from across the country, Wade Gasque from Marion, S.C., has been selected as one of 10 semifinalists in the Netflix FIND Your Voice film competition, a program which will award one aspiring filmmaker the means, guidance and resources to make a full- length narrative film. The winning film will premier at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June 2010, along with resources needed to make a feature film, a $150,000 production grant funded by Netflix, and distribution online through the Netflix Web site. Gasque's film Half Truth, along with the other nine semifinalists, can be viewed online at www.netflixfindyourvoice.com/.

You're gonna look good in a cheap suit. I guarantee it. An affiliate of the Men's Warehouse is buying Filene's Basement for $67 million. Filene's is Boston- based, while Men's Warehouse is headquartered in Houston.

Gross The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the U.S. in 2008 was just over $14 trillion, or about $47,000 per capita, a gain of 0.7 percent from the previous year. In S.C., it was $127 billion, or a little more than $28,000 per capita, a gain of 0.6 percent over the previous year. In N.C. last year's GDP was just over $329 billion, or about $34,000 per capita. N.C. reported a gain in the GDP of only 0.1 percent over the previous year, considerably less than in S.C. or in the country as a whole.

Shareholder- owned electric utilities In S.C., the three shareholder- owned monopoly electric utilities and their homeowner rates for 1,000 kilowatt- hours, roughly one customer's monthly bill: Duke, $83.22; Progress, $103.52; SCE&G, $117.48. Duke is expected to ask the S.C. Public Service Commission for a rate hike in another month or two. SCE&G has already asked to increase the homeowner's rate for 1,000 kilowatt hours to $118.90, which is likely to be granted, as almost always before. All three have to jack up rates to cover costs of new power plant construction, both nuclear and coal.

Projected population growth In 2005, the Columbia metropolitan area population was 690,717, and the area is expected to grow to 740,815 by the end of 2010, giving it a rank of 70 out of the 250 largest metro areas in the country. By 2025, the Columbia area should have a population of 807,303, which is a lowered ranking of 77. Greenville, S.C., in 2005 had 588,714 and is expecting a 2025 population of 710,478, which makes for a continuous ranking of 83. Charleston had 601,162 people in 2005 and projects 810,615 for 2025, which is a ranking of 76, the state's largest by then, barely beating out Columbia's 77 expected that same year.

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