SC business notebook

January 24, 2013 

60 new jobs coming to York County by summer

Lap Tech Industries, a manufacturer of precision components, will invest $4.5 million to expand its operations in York County and create 60 new jobs by early summer, the S.C. Department of Commerce announced Wednesday. The company manufactures components for a growing base of customers in the automotive, electronics, appliance and metal stamping industries. It also provides precision finishing services such as grinding, lapping, polishing and precision cleaning. The company will begin hiring in March; call (803) 831-0761.

Market hits 5-year high

Strong earnings from tech giants nudged the stock market to a five-year high Wednesday. Investors drew encouragement from a vote by the House of Representatives to let the government keep paying all of its bills for another four months. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 67.12 points to close at 13,779.33. That’s the highest level since Oct. 31, 2007, a month before the Great Recession started. Google and IBM reported surprisingly solid fourth-quarter earnings late Tuesday, a hopeful sign for investors who expected tech companies to struggle at the end of last year. Other indexes made slight gains. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index inched up 2.25 points to 1,494.81, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite rose 10.49 points to 3,153.67.

Union membership drops

Union membership plummeted last year to the lowest level since the 1930s as cash-strapped state and local governments shed workers and unions had difficulty organizing new members in the private sector despite signs of an improving economy. Government figures released Wednesday showed union membership declined from 11.8 percent to 11.3 percent of the workforce, another blow to a labor movement already stretched thin by battles in Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and other states to curb bargaining rights and weaken union clout. South Carolina has the third-lowest unionization rate in the nation at 3.3 percent.

N.Y. defends its plan to limit size of sugary drinks

The city defended its groundbreaking size limit on sugary drinks Wednesday as an imperfect but meaningful rein on obesity, while critics said it would hurt small and minority-owned businesses while doing little to help health. The first courtroom arguments in the case ended without an immediate ruling. Opponents said they planned to ask a judge to delay enforcement during the suit, which has broached questions of racial fairness alongside arguments about government authority. The suit seeks to block the restriction, set to take effect March 12.

The Associated Press and New York Times contributed.

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