Local & State
Midlands residents invited to Community Checkup forum
Housing, health insurance and workforce opportunities will be the main topics of a community forum at 6 p.m. Thursday at Midlands Technical College Northeast Campus, 151 Powell Road, Columbia. Richland County Councilman Torrey Rush, District 7 representative, is inviting all county residents to attend the Community Checkup forum. Participants can speak with community agency representatives who can assist with a job hunt, the health insurance exchange, Medicaid and buying a home. For information on the free event, call (803) 576-2060.
Florence welding operation cutting 60 jobs
A welding firm in Florence is cutting 60 jobs by December and moving part of its manufacturing to Texas and Mexico. The (Florence) Morning News reported Wednesday that 60 employees at ESAB Welding and Cutting Products were given 60-day notices last month and their last day is Dec. 19. ESAB vice president of human resources Dan Preest told the newspaper the change affects assemblers, machinists, project managers and material handlers.
Wal-Mart says it has hired 1, 718 S.C. veterans in first 18 months of program
Wal-Mart said it has hired 1,718 veterans across South Carolina in the first 18 months of the retailer’s Veterans Welcome Home Commitment, according to a press release. The company said the hires are part of their commitment to supporting the nation’s military and military families. The initiative guarantees a job offer to any honorably discharged veteran within the first 12 months of separation from service, the release said.
Addition of JetBlue dramatically improves Savannah-Hilton Head airport cost ranking
Just a year ago, Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport was tied for fourth in a ranking of the most expensive airfares among the country’s 100 largest airports. Now, after adding low-cost carrier JetBlue in February, the airport has dropped to No. 25 on the list. Ticket prices have fallen 13.7 percent – the sharpest decline in the U.S., according to recently released Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ numbers for the second quarter of this year. Airport officials credit JetBlue for the lower prices.
Nation & World
3 major U.S. banks fined $950 million for foreign-exchange trading
Three of the biggest U.S. banks, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Bank of America Corp. and Citigroup Inc., have been fined a total of $950 million by U.S. regulators for failing to prevent misconduct in their foreign-exchange trading operations, the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said Wednesday. Other regulators in the U.S., Britain and Switzerland fined five global banks – including JPMorgan and Citigroup – a total $3.4 billion for attempting to manipulate foreign-exchange markets.
Energy Department predicts below $3 a gallon gas in 2015
The Energy Department now predicts the average price of gasoline will be below $3 a gallon in 2015. The dramatically lower estimate will save U.S. consumers and the economy more than $60 billion if it holds true. The department predicts drivers will pay $2.94 per gallon on average in 2015, 45 cents lower than this year. In South Carolina, prices typically fall 15-25 cents below the national average.
The Associated Press, Jeff Wilkinson and The (Hilton Head) Island Packet contributed.