Local & State
Outdoor wood products company adding 60 jobs
ORANGEBURG An Orangeburg company that makes wood used in outdoor products like decks, fences and utility poles says it is growing and adding 60 jobs over five years.
Cox Industries said Tuesday it will spend more than $11 million to expand its operations in Eutawville, Bowman, Orangeburg and Branchville.
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The company said its new projects include installing a wood-fired boiler at its Eutawville plant and expanding and consolidating some of the company’s operations in Orangeburg. Cox Industries also plans to do more work at the plants in Bowman and Branchville.
The company currently has 400 workers at plants and facilities in 10 states.
Nation & World
Boat, travel trailer sales soar
Sales of boats and travel trailers are at some of the highest levels in years as consumers feel better about making discretionary purchases.
The National Marine Manufacturers Association said Tuesday that recreational boat sales were up as much as 7 percent this year compared with 2013. Furthermore, 2014 retail expenditures – which include spending on boats, engines, marine accessories and services – could eclipse 2007, one of the healthiest years for the industry.
This fall, wholesale shipments of travel trailers were at some of the highest levels in decades, according to the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, based in Reston, Va. RV industry shipments are expected to total 361,400 units in 2015, up 4 percent from 2014.
U.S. home prices rise at slower pace
U.S. home prices rose in October at a slightly slower pace, as real estate sales have fallen and affordability has increasingly become a challenge for potential buyers.
The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index increased 4.5 percent in October from 12 months prior. The figures reported Tuesday mark the eleventh straight month of price gains decelerating and the smallest gain since October 2012.
The slowdown in price growth comes after surging double-digit increases for much of 2013. Home values climbed as the market recovered from bottoming out in 2011 in the aftermath of the housing bust and the Great Recession.
Consumer confidence grows
Consumer confidence rose in December as Americans embraced more employment opportunities and persistent declines in prices at the gas pump.
The Conference Board’s index increased to 92.6 from a revised 91 in November that was stronger than initially estimated, the New York-based private research group said Tuesday. A measure of current conditions advanced to the highest in almost seven years.
Gasoline prices that have fallen every day since the end of September left more cash in people’s wallets heading into the holiday gift-giving season. The strongest job growth since 1999 and record stock prices are also fueling optimism and providing a base for further spending gains that will help propel the economy.
The Associated Press, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Bloomberg News and Star Tribune (Minneapolis) contributed.