SC business notebook, April 12

April 11, 2013 

Merritt McHaffie

THOMAS HAMMOND

5 Points Association chief taking State Museum post

Merritt McHaffie, executive director of the Five Points Association, is leaving that position May 10 to become director of marketing for the South Carolina State Museum. McHaffie, 33, was hired as marketing director for the association in August 2005 and was promoted to executive director in January 2006. A Greenville native and USC graduate, McHaffie shepherded the association through a difficult and extended utility and beautification project in the area and increased the association’s membership each year that she was director. McHaffie also created such events as Festivus, the Summer Sidewalk Sale and the Barstool Classic, and headed the project to erect a sculpture honoring Columbia rockers Hootie and the Blowfish. Deputy director Amy Beth Franks will take over as interim director until a new executive director is named in the fall. McHaffie will begin her duties at the State Museum on May 17.

Metal fabrication company opening, plans to hire 150

A metal fabrication company says it is coming to Anderson County and will hire nearly 150 workers. SMF Inc. plans to spend nearly $6 million putting its new plant in an existing building, opening in July. The company hopes to have 146 employees working in the plant by 2018. The Minonk, Ill.-based company makes metal parts and components for construction, power generation, agriculture, and mining.

Unemployment claims fall sharply

The number of Americans seeking U.S. unemployment benefits fell sharply last week to a seasonally adjusted 346,000, suggesting March’s weak month of hiring may be a temporary slowdown. Weekly unemployment aid applications dropped by 42,000 last week, the Labor Department said Thursday. The steep decline reversed sharp gains over the previous two weeks and brought the level back to a point that signals stronger job growth.

Automakers recalling 3.4 million older vehicles to fix defective air bags

Six automakers including Toyota, Honda and Nissan, are recalling nearly 3.4 million older-model vehicles worldwide in a massive effort to fix defective air bags made by the same parts company. The recall mainly affects cars sold by Japanese automakers in North America, Europe and Japan.

Jeff Wilkinson and The Associated Press contributed.

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