Originally created 11/23/05

Business briefs



South Carolina's jobless rate rises

COLUMBIA - South Carolina's jobless rate rose again in October to 6.9 percent, its third consecutive monthly climb, the state Employment Security Commission reported Tuesday.

The agency attributed the increase to a further winding down of the state's tourism industry for the year, coupled with job losses and a lack of growth around the state. Nationally, the unemployment rate dropped in October by one-tenth of a percentage point to 5 percent.

Aiken County's jobless rate fell three-tenths to 5.9 percent, and Edgefield County's rose 1.2 percent to 8.2 percent.

Deere & Co. posts earnings decline

MOLINE, Ill. - Farm equipment maker Deere & Co. reported a fourth-quarter profit that skidded 35 percent from a year ago, and the company predicts that a two-year sales surge for tractors and other implements will slow in 2006.

Deere reported that earnings fell to $232.8 million, or 96 cents a share, for the quarter that ended Oct. 31, down from $356.7 million, or $1.41 cents a share, last year.

Deere expects sales to rise 1 percent to 3 percent in 2006, with a 10 percent to 12 percent jump in consumer equipment sales and a 5 percent to 7 percent sales increase for construction and forestry machines.

One-time gain aids H.J. Heinz profits

PITTSBURGH - H.J. Heinz Co., best known for its namesake ketchup brand, on Tuesday reported that its second-quarter earnings edged up 2 percent thanks to a one-time gain, and said it is close to selling off several underperforming European businesses.

Heinz, whose other brands include Ore-Ida frozen potatoes and Smart Ones meals, said quarterly profit totaled $203.8 million, or 60 cents per share, up from about $199 million, or 56 cents per share, a year earlier. The results included 9 cents per share from discontinued operations, related to resolved tax liabilities from businesses spun-off to Del Monte Foods Co.

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