Local & State
Businesses can get full unemployment credit on taxes
S.C. businesses can receive the full 5.4 percent credit on their federal unemployment taxes for 2012, the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce said Thursday. Because the state is paying down its federal loan debt, it received conditional approval from the U.S. Department of Labor to avoid a .9 percent credit reduction for businesses, the department said in a release. Federal law requires a reduction in the tax credit when a state has outstanding federal unemployment loans for two consecutive Januarys and has not made sufficient voluntary payments towards the loan and other solvency improvement measures, the release said. The state borrowed nearly $1 billion to cover jobless benefits as jobless rates spiked during the recession. The state made a $106.5 million payment in August to avoid the penalties and is on track to have the loan fully repaid by 2015, the release said. Businesses should expect to receive their specific rates in mid- to late December.
City Roots a finalist for national green award
City Roots, an urban farm in Columbia’s Rosewood area, has been selected as one of 10 national finalists in Green America’s People & Planet Awards, according to a release from the City of Columbia. The award recognizes green businesses for their contributions to a just and sustainable economy. The public can vote for City Roots to win the award at greenamerica.org/peopleandplanet until 5 p.m. Nov. 30. The winner will receive a $5,000 award to help it advance its commitment to clean energy. Green America is a non-profit membership organization founded in 1982.
Nation & World
Duke Energy earnings stronger than expected
NEW YORK Duke Energy, the nation’s largest electric utility by market value, reported stronger-than-expected earnings for the third quarter but company executives said the outlook for strong economic growth in the U.S. is dim. The company said more customers signed up for service but demand for electricity from homes and businesses has been weak. Still, Duke reported solid third quarter results Thursday, the company’s first quarterly results since acquiring Progress Energy in late June to become the largest U.S. utility. The Charlotte-based company serves 7 million customers in the Carolinas, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio. Duke reported earnings of $594 million, or 85 cents per share, on revenue of $6.72 billion. The company said it earned $1.47 per share when it excluded $457 million in deal-related costs, a $180 million increase in the costs it must pay to complete a new coal plant in Indiana and other unusual items.
Number of people seeking unemployment fell last week
WASHINGTON The number of people seeking unemployment benefits fell last week by 8,000 to a seasonally adjusted 355,000, a possible sign of a healing job market. But officials cautioned that the figures were distorted by Superstorm Sandy. The Labor Department said Thursday that the four-week average of applications, a less volatile measure, rose by 3,250 to 370,500.
The Associated Press contributed.