Originally created 12/16/03

Business briefs



MARKETS

AROUND TOWN

Survey sees bosses planning to hire

Local employers are more optimistic that they will hire new workers during the first quarter of 2004 than they were during the same period last year, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.

Thirty percent of companies surveyed plan to increase staffing, while 3 percent intend to cut jobs, said Debbie Elder, the Augusta spokeswoman for Manpower Inc., a Milwaukee-based employment services firm.

"A year ago at this time, employers expected a weaker job market," she said, adding that last year 10 percent of companies planned on hiring and 7 percent expected cuts.

In the new survey, 47 percent expect to maintain current staffing levels. Twenty percent were undecided.

First National opens new branch

First National Bank & Trust Co. will have a grand opening for its newest branch office in Augusta today at 11 a.m. at 2550 Tobacco Road in Hephzibah.

The Louisville, Ga.-based community bank's branch, its 20th, will feature drive-in banking, ATMs and night deposit services.

"We are very proud to be a member of the south Augusta community," said Lee Clark, senior vice president.

Women's clothier has Barnwell shop

Discount women's clothing boutique Dress U 4 Less will open its second location Saturday at 197 Main St. in Barnwell, S.C.

The retailer opened its first store in Augusta's Southgate shopping center last month. The stores, which specialize in women's business attire, are owned by former Miami businessman Shaun Alam, who recently relocated to Augusta.

BRIEFLY

Boeing poised for Dreamliner

CHICAGO - Boeing Co. remained tight-lipped Monday as all signs point toward an initial go-ahead for the 7E7 Dreamliner.

A formal announcement is expected today in Seattle - the region reportedly recommended as the 7E7 assembly site. The fuel-efficient jet still wouldn't be formally launched until mid-2004, or enter the market before 2008.

BellSouth announces additional job cuts

ATLANTA - BellSouth Corp. plans to eliminate more than 1,000 positions next quarter, but said Monday it's unclear how many people will be affected.

The 1,074 positions being cut include those already lost as the company prepares for its previously announced exit from the pay phone business. BellSouth has about 76,000 employees worldwide.

IBM to shift software posts out of U.S.

ARMONK, N.Y. - IBM Corp. plans to move as many as several thousand skilled software jobs from the United States to India, China and other countries, which could amount to one of the biggest such actions yet in the technology industry.

IBM documents obtained by The Wall Street Journal said that about 4,700 programming jobs could be shifted overseas to save costs.

In takeover, First Data must sell PIN business

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department announced a settlement Monday of a lawsuit that had blocked First Data Corp.'s $6.9 billion takeover of Concord EFS Inc.

The agreement requires First Data to sell off NYCE Corp., the nation's third-largest personal identification number (PIN) network.

Shoemaker gives out major holiday bonuses

PITTSFIELD, Maine - The 200 employees of the SAS Shoemakers plant in Pittsfield were handed envelopes with Christmas bonuses that, for some, totaled nearly $20,000.

The company this year awarded its employees with bonuses of $1,000 for every year worked at the company. Those who had worked less than a year got $500 each.

Euro continues its surge against dollar

NEW YORK - The euro hit a fresh all-time high of $1.2325 Monday as the euphoria surrounding the capture of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein over the weekend wore off.

The 12-nation currency beat its previous record of $1.2297, set Friday, as it continued the climb that has taken it nearly 17 percent higher against U.S. currency this year.

TALK TO US

Shopping success

Did you change your spending habits this holiday season in a good way? Tell us your story. Call (706) 823-3227.