Business Briefs: Long-term mortgages fall to 2017 low of 4.08 percent

Business Briefs: Long-term mortgages fall to 2017 low of 4.08 percent

April 14th, 2017 by Dave Flessner in Business Around the Region

Unum's McKenney paid $8.7 million

In his first full-year as CEO of Chattanooga's biggest corporation, Unum Corp. CEO Rick McKenney was paid a compensation package totaling nearly $8.7 million in salary, bonuses and pensions benefits.

In its annual proxy statement released Thursday in advance of the May 25 annual shareholders meeting, Unum said McKenney met or exceeded most of the corporate targets for last year. Unum earned a record-high profit of $931.4 million in 2016 on more than $11 billion of company revenues.

In the past year, Unum's total shareholder return of 35.1 percent was 62 percent better than its industry peers and more than triple the returns for the S&P 500.

McKenney, 48, succeeded Tom Watjen in May 2015 as president and chief executive of Unum. In his last full year as Unum CEO before retiring, Watjen was paid $13.3 million in 2014. As chief financial officer for the first four months of 2015 and CEO the second two thirds of that year, McKenney was paid more than $5.7 million in 2015, according to company filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Cato to open store in Hixson April 27

The women's fashion retailer Cato will open its newest Chattanooga store on April 27 in the Town Center North shopping center, near the Target store in Hixson.

Cato features value-priced women's fashion apparel, jewelry, shoes and accessories in sizes 2 to 28. Fresh, new styles are delivered to all stores every week.

"With exclusive styles, on-trend fashions and low prices every day, our customers can always find their statement of style while enjoying their shopping experience at Cato," company CEO John Cato said in an announcement Thursday of the new store. "We are excited about the opening of our store in Hixson."

Denver Thompson of Chattanooga will manage the new store.

Cato operates more than 1,300 stores in 32 states, including other Chattanooga area stores in Brainerd, Ooltewah, on Signal Mountain Road, in Lookout Valley, Fort Oglethorpe, Cleveland, Kimball, Dayton and Dalton, Ga.

Garland Sales to hire 60 more Dalton workers

The Georgia Department of Labor said it will help carpet and rug manufacturer Garland Sales recruit about 60 employees to work in the company's plant in Dalton.

The recruitment will be held Thursday, April 20, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the company's facility located at 1800 Antioch Road in Dalton. GDOL staff will be on site to provide employment-related services to the job seekers.

The company is recruiting carpet binder operators, carpet cutters, cutting table operators, commercial sewers, packaging material inspectors, sewing department supervisors and general laborers, along with plant managers and other supervisors.

Salaries for non-supervisory personnel range from $7.25 to $12 an hour, while salaries for supervisors depend on experience.

Food Lion donates meat to food banks

Ahead of the Easter holiday, Food Lion Feeds this week is donating more than 200,000 pounds of fresh meat to 10 regional food bank partners across its 10-state footprint, including the Chattanooga Food Bank.

High protein fresh food donations are particularly beneficial to food banks since the majority of donations received are nonperishable items such as canned goods.

"Holiday meals are a time for families to gather around the table and enjoy a meal together, but families fighting hunger cannot always experience that simple joy," said Christy Phillips-Brown, director of external communications and community relations for Food Lion.

Long-term mortgages fall to 2017 low of 4.08 percent

Long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell for a fourth straight week, with the benchmark 30-year rate marking a new low for the year.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the rate on 30-year fixed-rate home loans declined to 4.08 percent this week from 4.10 percent last week. That brought the rate under its previous 2017 low of 4.09 percent reached on Jan. 19. The 30-year rate stood at 3.58 percent a year ago and averaged 3.65 percent in 2016, the lowest level in records dating to 1971.

The rate on 15-year mortgages eased to 3.34 percent from 3.36 percent last week.

Falling energy prices cut producer price index

Inflation at the wholesale level slid last month, pulled down by plummeting energy prices.

The Labor Department said Thursday its producer price index, which measures inflation pressures before they reach consumers, fell 0.1 percent in March, the first drop since August. Wholesale prices rose 0.3 percent in February and 0.6 percent in January. Producer prices were up 2.3 percent in March from a year earlier, the sharpest annual increase in five years.

Energy prices tumbled 2.9 percent, including an 8.3 percent drop in gasoline.

But excluding volatile food and energy prices, so-called core wholesale inflation was unchanged in March and is up just 1.6 percent over the past year.