Originally created 12/16/05

Business briefs



Around town

MAU opens office in South Carolina

Augusta-based human resources and staffing firm MAU Inc. announced this week it has opened a regional office in Greenwood, S.C.

The company said the branch will provide a full range of temporary and full-time employment services, from industrial staffing to professional recruiting.

The Greenwood branch, MAU's 10th office, also will serve MAU's major clients in the area, including Fuju Photo Film and Tyco Healthcare. MAU spokeswoman Diana Hodge said the branch will employ about 10 people.

Holiday job growth levels jobless rate

Georgia's jobless rate remained unchanged at 5.2 percent from October to November as the holiday season created jobs in Augusta and the state's other metro areas.

The Georgia Department of Labor said Thursday the state added 19,300 jobs in November. Many of those were seasonal workers in retail trade and service-related industries.

The 1,000 jobs created in the Augusta-Aiken area during the month edged total employment up 2.1 percent from 214,100 to 215,100.

Briefly

'Light' cigarette lawsuit dismissed

Charlotte, N.C. - The Illinois Supreme Court handed the tobacco industry a huge victory Thursday by tossing out a $10.1 billion fraud judgment against Philip Morris USA over the marketing of its "light" cigarettes.

But while shares of parent company Altria Group Inc. soared to an all-time high on the news, industry critics warned that the decision does not insulate U.S. cigarette companies from future lawsuits. There are at least 40 similar suits pending against tobacco companies, any of which could result in awards into the billions of dollars.

The Illinois high court's ruling in Price v. Philip Morris - the so-called "Price Lights" case - addressed whether Philip Morris acted fraudulently when it labeled some cigarettes as "light" or "low tar and nicotine."

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Contact Business Editor Damon Cline at: (706) 823-3486 or damon.cline@augustachronicle.com.