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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, October 05, 2017 1:00 am


Wisconsin sees boost in Foxconn

News services

RACINE, Wisconsin – Residents of the southeastern Wisconsin town where Foxconn Technology Group is planning a massive display screen plant greeted the announcement Wednesday with excitement about the possible economic boost and wistfulness about how the community is changing landscape.

Foxconn announced the location of its planned factory after months of negotiations with the company and the village of Mount Pleasant in Racine County. The company has said it intends to build a campus with about 20 million square feet of office space over 1.56 square miles, eventually employing as many as 13,000 people to manufacture liquid crystal display screens used on phones, televisions, computers and other devices.

The Wisconsin Legislature approved a $3 billion incentive package for Foxconn – contingent on the company fulfilling its jobs promise, and the state's economic development agency is working on the final contract. The proposed industrial complex would make it the largest in the state.

Report: Hurricanes led to 7,000 job cuts

Hurricanes that swept the southern U.S. last month shut many retailers and put hiring on hold at small businesses.

That's the finding of payroll provider ADP, which said Wednesday that its small-business customers cut 7,000 jobs during September. Many small and independent retailers in Texas and Florida had to close before and during hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and many suffered significant damage from wind, rain and flooding. That not only slowed hiring, but employees at some stores were laid off. The Labor Department reported a jump in applications for unemployment benefits following the storms.

The hurricanes also curtailed overall hiring, ADP said, counting 135,000 new jobs at companies of all sizes – the smallest gain in nearly a year.

Wells Fargo paying back mortgage fees

Wells Fargo says it will refund customers that paid mortgage rate lock extension fees that were requested from Sept. 16, 2013 through Feb. 28, 2017, as it looks to win back their trust following a scandal over its sales practices.

Wells Fargo & Co. said approximately $98 million in rate lock extension fees were assessed to about 110,000 borrowers during that period, but it believes a substantial number of the fees were appropriately charged under its policy. The bank said that the amount to be refunded likely will be lower, as not all of the fees assessed were actually paid and some fees already have been refunded.

Wells Fargo said Wednesday that the refunds will start to go out during the last quarter of the year.

Growth forecast up in East Asia, Pacific

The World Bank raised its growth forecast for the developing economies of East Asia and the Pacific on Wednesday but warned that risks included rising protectionism and escalating tensions over North Korea.

In an update to its annual economic outlook, the bank forecast economic growth of 6.4 percent for the region this year, then easing to 6.2 percent in 2018.

The World Bank said it tweaked its forecasts to reflect stronger than expected growth this year in China – Asia's biggest economy – before a gradual slowdown next year.