SC business notebook, Sept 20

September 19, 2013 

State employment agency paying down $1 billion loan

The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce is whittling down its nearly $1 billion federal unemployment loan. The agency said Thursday that is had made an early payment of $75 million, putting it on track to pay off the loan by 2015. The early payment will save the state $1 million in interest over the next two years, the agency said. This is the second early payment the state has made this year, bringing the total payments for 2013 to $219 million. South Carolina has repaid more than $520 million of the $977 million borrowed from the U.S. to pay increased unemployment claims during the depths of the recession.

Kohl’s hiring 50,000 workers – 160 in Midlands – for holidays

Kohl’s said Thursday it would hire more than 50,000 employees nationwide – including 160 in the Midlands – during this year’s holiday season to help with increased traffic at the end of the year. The department store plans to hire an average of 40 associates per store, it said in a press release. The Columbia area has four stores, in Northeast Richland, Irmo, Lexington and Florence. Folks hired at those stores could work from a few hours a week to more than 20, unloading trucks, stocking merchandise or working a cash register. Hiring already has begun and will be complete within the next two months. See KohlsCareers.com for jobs.

Obama calls exports ‘one of brightest spots’ of economy

President Barack Obama says rising U.S. exports have been “one of the biggest bright spots” of the U.S. economy. Obama in 2010 set a goal of doubling exports by 2015 but the country is not on track to meet that goal. However, Obama pointed out the United States now sells more goods overseas than ever before, and those sales have boosted the U.S. economy. Obama says “made in America” means something around the world. Obama was addressing his export council, an advisory committee on trade with members from a variety of U.S. industries. Columbia rose to 17th among metro areas in exports in 2009-2012, according to a report this week.

Wells Fargo to lay off additional 1,800 workers from mortgage department

Wells Fargo plans to lay off an additional 1,800 employees from its mortgage department, after cutting about 2,300 jobs from the same unit in August. Spokesman Alfredo Padillo said Thursday that the San Francisco-based bank is cutting jobs in the mortgage department because fewer people than it expected are refinancing their mortgages. The jobs are in locations across the country. The affected employees were given 60 days’ notice, Wells Fargo said. The bank said that is looking for other positions for those people within the company. Wells Fargo & Co. is largest originator of residential mortgages in the U.S. and is the nation’s second biggest bank by deposits. It had over 275,000 employees as of June 30.

Kristy Eppley Rupon and The Associated Press contributed.

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