Tractor Supply store going up in Windham

Tractor Supply Co. broke ground Wednesday for a store on Roosevelt Trail in Windham.

The store, which is expected to open in early 2012, will be the 10th Maine location for the nationwide chain of retail supply stores, according to a press release from its builder, Benchmark Construction.

The stores serve farmers, ranchers, contractors and rural homeowners, the release said.

The Windham store, at 496 Roosevelt Trail next to Lee’s Family Trailer Sales & Service, will employ 15 people.

Portland-based oil exec resigns after move OK’d

Magellan Petroleum Corp. named a new CEO Wednesday and said it plans to move its headquarters from Portland to Denver.

William H. Hastings resigned as CEO and president of Magellan after the board approved the relocation. He will remain a board member and become an adviser on growth ventures and business development, Magellan said.

The board appointed J. Thomas Wilson, a consultant for Magellan, as the new CEO and president. 

Core equipment purchases a positive for the economy

Companies ordered more machinery, computers and communication equipment in August, a positive sign for the U.S. economy.

An increase in demand for longer-lasting factory goods suggests businesses are sticking with their investment plans, despite slow growth and weak consumer spending.

Overall orders for durable goods slipped 0.1 percent last month. The modest decline was largely due to an 8.5 percent drop in orders for autos and auto parts. In July, demand for those goods surged 10.2 percent — the biggest increase in eight years.

Economists looked past the headline figure and focused more closely on a 1.1 percent increase in a key category that measures business investment plans for core capital goods that are neither for defense nor transportation.

Another bright sign: shipments of those goods rose 2.8 percent, the fourth consecutive gain in this category. 

Unemployment picture improves in metro areas

Unemployment rates fell in roughly two-thirds of U.S. cities last month, despite zero job growth nationwide.

The Labor Department said Wednesday that unemployment rates dropped in 237 of the nation’s largest metro areas in August from July. They rose in 103 and stayed the same in 32. That’s an improvement from July, when rates fell in 193 areas and rose in 118.

Some areas with large agricultural sectors added jobs to coincide with the start of the harvest. Auto companies boosted hiring in several other cities.

Rates also fell in Jackson, Miss., and other cities because thousands of people gave up looking for work. People who are no longer searching for jobs aren’t counted as unemployed. 

Tax on financial trades opposed by U.S., Britain

Taxing financial trades has been touted as a panacea for all kinds of global ills, a cash source to fight poverty and global warming. But the latest European attempt to introduce a worldwide standard 40 years after it was first conceived is facing stiff opposition from the U.S. and Britain.

Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the EU’s executive arm, on Wednesday threw his weight behind the tax that his office estimated could raise $77 billion a year in Europe to help combat a debt crisis that is threatening the euro currency.

Although some countries already have a minimal duty on share trading, the new proposal would not only increase the scope and size of the tax but also siphon off some revenue to Brussels. 

– From staff and news services