Business Briefs for April 17

First Posted: 4/17/2011

LUMBERTON — Sam’s Club will give non-members the chance to take advantage of bargains during The Spring Taste of Sam’s Club Open House today.

The special event began Friday and continues today from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Non-members are invited to enjoy members-only low prices with no guest upcharge.

The department store is located at 5085 Dawn Drive.

LUMBERTON — The city of Lumberton has money available to downtown businesses for face-lifts.

Financial assistance is available through the city’s 2010-2011 Facade Improvement Grant Program, said Connie Russ, Lumberton’s downtown coordinator and retiree recruitment leader.

The city will match up to $5,000 in facade improvements to any downtown property for new awning installation, lighting, signing, etc. For full details and eligibility requirements, call Russ at (910) 671-3876.

FAIRMONT —The Fairmont Chamber of Commerce hosts its third annual Chamber of Commerce Beach Blast from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. on May 26.

The event is free and is held at the Fairmont Golf Course. This year’s entertainment will be The Tim Clark Band.

Also, on Monday, May 30, downtown Fairmont will hold its Memorial Day Sidewalk Sale from 7 a.m. to noon.

WASHINGTON — U.S. businesses in February posted the largest number of job openings in more than two years, evidence that hiring is picking up as the economy grows, according to the Labor Department.

Employers advertised 3.1 million available jobs that month, the most since September 2008. That was the height of the financial crisis, when Lehman Brothers collapsed, the Labor Department reported Wednesday.

The competition for those jobs is easing, though still intense. The department’s report shows that there were 4.4 people, on average, competing for each available job in February. That’s down from nearly seven in July 2009, but still above the approximately 2 to 1 ratio that exists in a healthy economy.

 The private sector in March added more than 200,000 jobs for a second straight month, the first time that’s happened since 2006. And the unemployment rate fell to 8.8 percent, the lowest level in two years.

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