Seminars to inform small business owners on new health care law
Small business owners with five or more employees can get some insight into the Affordable Care Act during two upcoming seminars, sponsored by the City of Columbia Office of Business Opportunities. The forums will educate owners about the requirements and opportunities of the new act. Panelists from Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina; Derrick, Stubbs and Stith; Total Financial Group; and other organizations will participate in the free event. The first session is set for 9-11 a.m. Oct. 17 at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center, 1101 Lincoln St., Columbia. The second session will be held 6-8 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Earlewood Community Center, 1111 Parkside Dr., Columbia. Registration is required. Go to https://columbiaaffordable careactforum.eventbrite.com or contact Angelo McBride at email@example.com or (803) 545-3960.
Jobless benefits declined last week
WASHINGTON The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose just 1,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 308,000, hovering near six-year lows. Companies are still cutting very few jobs, however the decline in layoffs has not been accompanied by a pickup in hiring. The less volatile four-week average for applications fell to 305,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. That’s the lowest since May 2007, seven months before the recession began.
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Rates on fixed mortgages fall
WASHINGTON Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell for the third straight week to their lowest point in three months, as a decline in consumer confidence and the onset of the government shutdown forced rates down. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate on the 30-year loan dropped to 4.22 percent from 4.32 percent last week. The average on the 15-year fixed loan declined to 3.29 percent from 3.37 percent. Both are the lowest averages since early July. Rates began to fall last month after the Federal Reserve held off slowing its $85-billion-a-month in bond buys, which have kept rates low. The Federal Housing Administration, which guarantees about 30 percent of U.S. home mortgages, says that if the partial shutdown continues for an extended period and the agency’s funding runs out, it wouldn’t be able to continue approving loans.
Reuters plans to lay off staff members
Turmoil continues at Thomson Reuters after the company announced Wednesday that it was laying off staff members. “To simplify and strengthen the Reuters news operation, we are making changes that will result in a slightly smaller editorial staff, but one that is more strategically positioned and better equipped to help Reuters report and deliver the news that matters most to our customers and society as a whole,” spokeswoman Barb Burg said in a statement. The cuts are expected to affect about 150 employees, or 5 percent of the newsroom staff.
Kristy Eppley Rupon, The Associated Press and New York Times contributed.