2011-04-08 / Business


by John Temple Ligon

Columbia bracketed by lowered expectations

Both the Atlanta and the Charlotte house markets are in for lower prices if the past year is any indication of what to expect. House prices in the Charlotte market fell 4.8 percent for the year ended January 31, while Atlanta house prices dropped 7 percent for the same time frame. Nationally, house prices were back to the levels last seen in 2003. As reported in the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the chairman of the Index Committee, David M. Blitzer, at Standard & Poor’s said: “Keeping with the trends set in late 2010, January brings us weakening home prices with no real hope in sight for the near future... These data confirm what we have seen with recent housing starts and sales reports. The housing market recession is not yet over, and none of the statistics are indicating any form of sustained recovery. At most, we have seen all statistics bunce along their troughs; at worst, the feared doubledip recession may be materializing.”

On the other hand...

Atlanta–based Porsche Cars North America Inc., the American Porsche sales headquarters, sold 771 cars in March, which was more than a 10 percent increase over March 2010. Year–to–date through March, sales were up 34 percent with a total of 2,069 cars sold.

A 450–acre tract up for auction

With more than 7,800 feet of frontage along Interstate 85 in Spartanburg County, 450 acres will be auctioned at 2 p.m., April 20, by National Commercial Auctioneers (877.895.7077). The property has more than a mile of frontage on the North Tyger River.

Most improved transit system

Greenville’s Greenlink, the city bus system, was recognized recently as the state’s most improved by the Transportation Association of South Carolina.

We got more than just about anybody

South Carolina and North Carolina each ranks among the country’s top five states for storage of spent nuclear fuel. Together the two states have more than 8,000 tons. The spent nuclear fuel is looking for a safe home, maybe Yucca Mountain in Nevada, if Congress ever gets with the program. Until then, the spent nuclear fuel is stored on the same sites with nuclear reactors. South Carolina by itself stores 4,290 tons at its seven nuclear reactors, and the state is scheduled fo add another four reactors, two in Jenkinsville (SCANA and Santee Cooper) and two in Cherokee County (Duke Energy).

Speaking of nukes

The U.S. Department of Energy is releasing $935,000 which will be divided as five grants to area colleges and universities: Aiken Technical College, Augusta State University, Augusta Technical College, University of South Carolina at Aiken, and University of South Carolina at Salkehatchie. The grants will help train workers for existing and future nuclear–related jobs.

Golden Arches

Columbia–area McDonalds will hire more than 200 new workers on April 19. All told across the country McDonald’s plans to hire 50,000 new employees that day. For further information: www.McDonalds.com/Careers

We’re No. 71

The undergraduate business program at Clemson University is nationally ranked at No. 71. Among the public colleges and universities, Clemson’s undergraduate business program is ranked No. 29. Falling into the same categories, the undergraduate business program at USC is No. 92 in the country, and among public colleges and universities it’s No. 45. The rankings are published in Bloomberg Businessweek.

South Carolina exports up 23 percent

With a total value of exports at $20.3 billion for 2010, South Carolina saw a 23 percent increase in exports over the previous year. The state’s top 10 export industries for 2010: (1) vehicles, (2) machinery, (3) rubber, (4) plastics, (5) electrical machinery, (6) organic chemicals, (7) paper and paperboard, (8) optics and medical equipment, (9) wood pulp, and (10) iron and steel. Canada bought S.C. products worth more than $3.17 billion, the state’s No. 1 export market. No. 2 was Germany, and No. 3, China.

The Cat is out of the bag

Illinois–based Caterpillar Inc. has recently leaked dissatisfaction with the business climate in Illinois. Consequently, states are telling Caterpillar how much more the company could appreciate a new corporate headquarters in a new home state. South Carolina, presumably, is in the Hunt.

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