SC bonds sold to fund Boeing local land deal

The Federal Aviation Administration has approved the sale of 267 acres at Charleston International Airport for Boeing’s future expansion plans, a company spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Also, the state of South Carolina sold $85 million in bonds this week as part of the $120 million in financial assistance it has committed to the company. The aerospace giant, in turn, has promised to invest another $1 billion and create 2,000 jobs in South Carolina by 2020.

The proceeds from this week’s debt sale will go toward buying the property and preparing the site for development, according to Charleston airports director Paul Campbell

The company hasn’t specified what it plans to do with the land near its 787 Dreamliner campus in North Charleston.

Boeing South Carolina spokeswoman Candy Eslinger said she was told Wednesday about the FAA approval. The $13.8 million sale is expected to close by the end of the year.

Lower gas prices lifting hopes for holiday sales

WASHINGTON — No one begs Santa Claus for cheaper gasoline. Yet falling gas prices are shaping up as an unexpected gift for drivers — and for people on their holiday shopping lists.

The average price of gasoline has tumbled 49 cents from its peak this year to $3.29 a gallon, putting it on track for the lowest average since 2010, according to AAA. Because many Americans have had no pay raises, whatever money they’re saving on gas has freed up a bit more for other purchases.

And history shows that when gas prices drop, consumers become more likely to splurge on dinners out. Impulse buys at the mall seem like less of a stretch. More people buy a gas-station gift card after fueling up.

US jobless claims drop as layoff activity slows

WASHINGTON — The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped 10,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 316,000, a sign that workers are in less danger of being laid off.

The less volatile four-week average fell 7,500 to 331,750, the Labor Department said Wednesday. Both the first-time weekly jobless claims and the average have returned to pre-recession levels. Unemployment benefit applications are a proxy for layoffs. They have fallen in six of the past seven weeks.

A government spokesman said there were no special factors that drove claims lower but cautioned that it can be difficult to seasonally adjust in late November because the Thanksgiving holiday occurs at different times each year.

Durable goods orders fall by 2 percent in Oct.

WASHINGTON — Businesses spent less last month on machinery, computers and most other items, lowering orders for U.S. long-lasting factory goods. The decline suggests companies may have been reluctant to invest during the 16-day partial government shutdown

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that orders for durable goods dropped 2 percent in October from September. That follows a 4.1 percent increase in September from August. Durable goods are meant to last at least three years.

US average on 30-year mortgage goes higher

WASHINGTON — Average U.S. mortgage rates rose modestly this week, a move that makes home-buying a bit less affordable. Still, rates remain near historically low levels.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Wednesday the average rate on the 30-year loan increased to 4.29 percent from 4.22 percent. The average on the 15-year fixed ticked up to 3.3 percent from 3.27 percent.

The increase in mortgage rates has contributed to a slowdown in home sales over the past two months.

Staff and wire reports