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Staff photo by Erin O. Smith / Robert Hensley gets his paperwork organized during a job fair put on by EPIC Talent Solutions Wednesday, August 22, 2018 at the Chattanooga Times Free Press in Chattanooga, Tennessee. There were 49 companies with job openings on hand to speak with job seekers.

Ready to land your dream job? EPIC Talent Solutions will be hosting a multi-industry job fair on Wednesday, Feb. 26, inside the Chattanooga Times Free Press building at 400 E. 11th Street from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Those attending the job fair will be able to meet face to face with top employers who are now hiring workers. Participants are urged to come dressed for success to register as an active job seeker to get matched with employers at timesfreepress.com/epicjobfair.

Employers at Wednesday's job fair include Mckee Foods, Chattanooga State Community College, LifeCare, Pilgrims Pride, Koch Foods, JAK Foods, See Rock City, Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Chattanooga, Praters Hardwood, Siskin Steel, Belhaven University, Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union, Amerilife, Hamilton County Department of Education, Miller Industries, Nissin Brake, Orange Grove, Aerotek, Sodexo, PeopleReady, Moccasin Bend Mental Hospital, HireQuest Direct, Colonial Chemical, Avenger Logistics, Thunder Enterprises, Walden Security, Encompass Healthcare, Bojangles, Southern Champion Tray, CHI Memorial, Marketing Alliance Group, AZZ Enclosures, First Student, Core Civic, Qualified Staffing, Legal Shield and Health Center at Standifer Place, among others.

 

Wells Fargo to pay $3 billion in settlement

Wells Fargo agreed Friday to pay $3 billion to settle criminal and civil investigations into a long-running practice whereby company employees opened millions of unauthorized bank accounts in order to meet unrealistic sales goals.

Since the fake-accounts scandal came to light in 2016, Wells has paid out billions in fines to state and federal regulators, reshuffled its board of directors and seen two CEOs and other top-level executives leave the company.

The $3 billion payment includes a $500 million civil payment to the Securities and Exchange Commission, which will distribute those funds to investors who were impacted by Wells' behavior.

"Wells Fargo traded its hard-earned reputation for short-term profits" said U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna for the Central District of California.

Wells' sales policies, pushed by top management, berated staffers for not making bloated sales quotas, which ultimately resulted in many employees gaming Wells Fargo's sales system in order to meet these artificial sales goals.

 

Home sales fell 1.3% in January

U.S. home sales retreated 1.3% in January from the prior month, but low mortgage rates helped enable an increase in purchases from a year ago.

The National Association of Realtors said Friday that sales of existing homes slipped last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.46 million. Sales have climbed 9.6% over the past 12 months as borrowing costs have fallen. But sales could be squeezed in the coming months because of a shortage of homes listed for sale.

Just 1.42 million homes were on the market at the end of January, a 10.7% decline from a year ago. With fewer homes for sale, would-be buyers have fewer options and prices are rising faster than wage growth.

The median sales price in January was $266,300, up 6.8% from a year ago.

Still, a solid economy and low mortgage rates are boosting demand for housing. The average interest rate charged on a 30-year mortgage was 3.49% this week, down from 4.35% a year ago, according to mortgage buyer Freddie Mac.

 

China suspends more tariffs on U.S. goods

China on Friday suspended more punitive tariffs on imports of U.S. industrial goods in response to a truce in its trade war with Washington that threatened global economic growth.

Goods affected by the latest reduction include industrial components and medical and factory equipment, according to the Finance Ministry. It gave no details of the value of goods affected but said penalties were suspended for one year, effective Feb. 28.

The cuts come as China struggles with the mounting cost of measures imposed to contain a virus outbreak that has closed factories, stores and other businesses.

Under their "Phase 1" agreement signed in January, Washington agreed to cancel additional tariff hikes and Beijing committed to buy more American farm exports. U.S. officials said China also committed to addressing complaints about its technology policies.

Last week, the Trump administration reduced penalties on some Chinese imports.

In an earlier tariff cut, China announced Feb. 6 it would reduce duties on $75 billion of U.S. goods as part of a trade truce with Washington.

 

Bond rates fall to record lows

Stocks fell and bond prices rose sharply on Wall Street Friday amid signs that economic fallout from the viral outbreak that originated in China is hurting U.S. companies.

The yield on the 30-year Treasury reached a record low as investors sought the safety of U.S. government bonds, driving their prices higher. The price of gold also rose.

New data showing manufacturing and business activity suddenly slowed this month added to investors' anxiety. News that infections are spreading added to traders' jitters.

The losses had the benchmark S&P 500 index on track for its first weekly loss after two weeks of gains.

"There's a little bit more concern about how hard this is going to impact, not just Asia, but also the broad global economy," said Adam Taback, chief investment officer for Wells Fargo Private Bank.

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