May 22, 2013

SC business notebook, May 23

New packaging plant will bring 30 jobs to Clarendon Co.; NC nuclear plant inspected; Home sales inched up last month

Packaging maker to open new facility in Clarendon County

A reusable packaging maker will spend $3.5 million to open a new operating facility in an existing building in Clarendon County, the S.C. Department of Commerce said Wednesday. Advanta Southeast will create about 30 new jobs at the 53,000-square-foot facility as it aims to streamline its manufacturing process and expand its product line for customers such as General Motors, Ford, BMW, Lear and Yamaha. Advanta, which already has a presence in Duncan, expects the new facility to begin operations in June. For jobs, call the SCWorks Manning office at (803) 473-2086.

Regulators inspecting nuclear plant that shut down last week

Federal regulators are launching a special inspection of a nuclear power plant outside North Carolina’s capital city that was forced to shut down last week. A Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesman said Wednesday that two specialists will study what led up to the shutdown after a problem was uncovered using year-old data. They want to know why a flaw inside the nuclear reactor wasn’t found until Duke Energy employees took a new look at test results from last year. Operators at the plant in southern Wake County found a tiny sign of corrosion and cracking that needs repair, which has begun. Duke Energy representatives did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment Wednesday.

Previously-owned home sales inched up last month

Sales of previously occupied U.S. homes ticked up last month to the highest level in three and a half years, helped by a jump in the number of houses for sale. The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.97 million, up from 4.94 million in March. Home sales have risen 9.7 percent in the past 12 months. Still, sales have changed little since November. The supply of available homes remains tight and many would-be buyers aren’t able to get loans. The number of homes for sale jumped to 2.16 million, up nearly 12 percent from the previous month. But inventory is still almost 14 percent lower than a year earlier. Many of the sales are going to private investors, who are buying up lower-price homes and then renting them out. First-time buyers, who help drive healthy markets, made up only 30 percent of sales in March. That’s well below the 40 percent typical in a healthy market and down from nearly 33 percent in March 2012. Those buyers purchase from existing homeowners, who then are able to move on to larger houses.

Kristy Eppley Rupon and The Associated Press contributed.

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