Columbia Star


Unemployment rates

In August 2007, four months before the Great Recession actually began, both North Carolina and South Carolina had unemployment rates of 5.6 percent. For August 2011, North Carolina had an unemployment rate of 10.4 percent; and South Carolina, 11.1 percent. Suffering the worst drop in employment in the country during the same time period, Nevada went from an unemployment rate of 4.7 percent four years ago to 13.4 percent in August 2011.

They’re No. 1

Raleigh, North Carolina, was ranked best city in the country, the most livable, by Bloomberg BusinessWeek among 100 cities. According to a report by Charlotte Business Journal, the cities were ranked based on 16 criteria, “including the number of restaurants, bars, and museums per capita; the number of colleges, libraries, and professional sports teams; the income, poverty, unemployment, crime, and foreclosure rates; percentage of population with bachelor’s’ degrees or higher; public school performance; park acres per 1,000 residents; and air quality.” No. 100, the bottom, was Cleveland.

They’re No. 2

For containerized exports, the Port of Savannah is the second busiest in the country. In fiscal year 2011, ending June 30, Savannah handled more than 6.8 million tons of containerized exports, second only to the Port of Los Angeles and ahead of Long Beach, New York/New Jersey, Norfolk and Charleston.

Single-source jobs growth

Bridgestone Americas has announced its 1.5 millionsquare foot tire manufacturing facility in Aiken, South Carolina. The new plant combined with the expansion of an existing plant closer to Augusta will create 850 jobs. Bridgestone expects to spend $1.2 billion on the projects. Bridgestone was begun in Japan by a man whose name translated as “stone bridge.”

Favorite 50 restaurants in the country

OpenTable, the online restaurant reservation business, conducted a survey of its customers and came up with a list of the country’s “Top 50 Restaurants for Foodies.” One is in Charleston, FIG, and one is in Atlanta, Abattoir, and that’s about it for the Southeast. None are in New Orleans. California has 17 on the list of 50, probably because the places are really good and presumably because of a large California-based percentage of the voting population. Chicago has six and NYC has five. The list of 50 winners comes from more than 10 million reviews by OpenTable diners at more than 12,000 restaurants across the 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Breaking ground

USC’s Darla Moore School of Business held its groundbreaking ceremony in the rain Friday morning, September 26, on the coliseum parking lot bordered by Assembly Street, Greene Street, and Park Street. The $91.5 million building, designed by NYC architect Rafael Vinoly, will contain 260,000 square feet, including a 500-seat auditorium, 25 classrooms, meeting rooms, and faculty and staff offices. The building will be born green, which means the energy consumed and the energy generated will match, leaving a Net-Zero rating and a LEED Platinum designation. Occupancy is predicted for January 2014. Now, it’s time for the Law School and the J-School to do the same.

Clemson University sees a fast $5 million

Clemson alumnus Gerald Glenn and his wife Candice Glenn have recently donated $5 million for scholarships, collaborative learning, faculty retention, and global perspective. The gift is also described by Clemson officials as unrestrictive.

Holiday work

Toys “R” Us plans to hire more than 40,000 workers for the holidays. Some of the seasonal jobs can lead to permanent positions, as did about 10 percent of last year’s holiday hires. The Columbia location for Toys “R” Us is at 140 Columbiana Drive in Harbison. Macy’s has announced it’s set to hire 78,000 for the holiday season, which includes positions at Bloomingdales stores. Columbia’s closest Bloomingdales are two stores in Atlanta. There is a Macy’s at Columbia Mall off Two Notch Road.

SCANA scores

SCANA subsidiaries’ natural gas customer satisfaction was surveyed by J. D. Power and Associates recently, including billing and payment, corporate citizenship, customer service, field service, and communications. SCANA’s PSNC Energy, based in Gastonia, North Carolina, was ranked at the top in the South in the large natural gas utility category, while SCANA’s Cayce-based SCE&G was ranked No. 3 among mid-sized gas utilities in the South.

Wind power

Based on projects announced so far this year, Duke Energy Renewables will soon be the fifth-largest producer of wind power in the country. Duke’s latest announcement in wind power was the 402-megawatt Los Vientos Wind Power Project near the Texas Gulf Coast. Austin Energy, the municipal electric power service for the citizens of Austin, Texas, has a 25-year contract with Duke, possibly worth up to $700 million over the life of the deal.

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