SC business notebook, July 11

July 11, 2014 

Palm trees line the mid body construction building at Boeing's new North Charleston assembly plant.

C. ALUKA BERRY — caberry@thestate.com Buy Photo

Local & State

Coast

Part-maker for 787 to locate in S.C.

A company that makes parts for the 787 will set up a satellite operation in Charleston County to serve the Boeing South Carolina plant, creating 60 jobs, Gov. Nikki Haley’s office announced Thursday.

Senior Aerospace AMT is believed to be the first direct Dreamliner supplier to be lured to South Carolina in order to be close to the Boeing assembly campus at Charleston International Airport. The location of the new satellite facility was not immediately available.

The Arlington, Wash.-based company makes various structural parts for leading original equipment manufacturers in the large commercial jet market. It is owned by the international engineering group Senior plc. The company plans to assemble existing products for delivery to Boeing South Carolina to meet increasing production rate requirements and to streamline operations.

The company plans to have the site operational by the end of 2014 with new positions to be filled immediately. The company is coordinating with readySC to create a pre-employment training program to begin filling job vacancies. The Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved job development tax credits for Senior Aerospace.

Nation & World

Unemployment applications drop

Fewer people sought U.S. unemployment benefits last week, driving down the level of applications to nearly the lowest in seven years. Weekly applications for unemployment aid dropped 11,000 to a seasonally adjusted 304,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That’s not far from a reading of 298,000 two months ago, which was the lowest since 2007, before the Great Recession began.

The four-week average, a less volatile measure, dipped 3,500 to 311,500, the second-lowest level since August 2007. Applications are a proxy for layoffs, so the low readings indicate that employers are letting go of fewer workers.

The figures are the latest sign that the job market is steadily improving. Employers are adding jobs at a healthy clip and the unemployment rate is at a 51/2-year low. Still, some economists warned that the figures could be volatile in the weeks ahead. That’s because auto manufacturers typically close their plants in July to prepare for new models to be released in the fall. That can cause spikes in temporary layoffs.

UAW forming local at Tennessee VW plant

An official with the United Auto Workers union, which suffered a stinging defeat in its attempt to unionize Volkswagen’s assembly plant in Tennessee earlier this year, says it is announcing the formation of a new local at the plant.

UAW Secretary-Treasurer Gary Casteel tells The Tennessean newspaper that officials are confident the German automaker will recognize the union if it signs up a “substantial” number of workers. If successful, it would become the South’s first unionized foreign auto plant.

A spokesman for Gov. Bill Haslam told The Associated Press on Thursday he understands there’s no agreement between the UAW and Volkswagen, and that comment would have to come from Volkswagen. A Volkswagen spokesman declined to comment. The union last year said it had signed up a majority of workers at the Chattanooga plant, but lost a February vote.

Mortgate rates rise slightly

Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages edged up slightly this week, remaining near historically low levels. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the nationwide average rate for a 30-year loan rose to 4.15 percent from 4.12 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage increased to 3.24 percent from 3.22 percent.

Mortgage rates are slightly lower than they were at the same time last year, having fallen recently after climbing last summer. That’s when the Federal Reserve began talking about reducing the monthly bond purchases it has been using to keep long-term interest rates low.

Rates have fallen modestly this year as Fed officials have signaled strongly that while they are trimming the bond purchases, they are in no rush to start boosting a key short-term rate the Fed controls.

The (Charleston) Post and Courier and The Associated Press contributed.

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