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VW touts soccer with Atlas ads

With the U.S. national soccer team absent from this year's world championships, Volkswagen of America says it wants to help American soccer fans find a new, temporary home for their passion.

Working in collaboration with creative agency Deutsch, Volkswagen has unveiled its "Jump on the Wagen" marketing campaign today during the opening rounds of the global soccer tournament.

The campaign will feature fans from several countries making the pitch for Americans to root for their teams when the tournament begins June 14.

Deutsch produced six spots – two 30-second spots and four 15-second spots featuring Belgium, Brazil, Iceland and Germany – that will air on FOX and FOX Sports.

Volkswagen will serve as the presenting sponsor for the FOX Sports post-game show and FOX Sports will also join in the fun with its own ad featuring hosts Alexi Lalas and Rob Stone picking up fans from different national teams in a Chattanooga-made Volkswagen Atlas.

State jobless rate rises to 3.5 percent

The jobless rate in Tennessee edged higher last month but remained below the U.S. rate of 3.8 percent.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development said employers across the state added another 7,800 non-farm jobs during May, but the workforce grew even faster as college students and others entered the labor market. As a result, Tennessee's unemployment rate rose from 3.4 percent in April to 3.5 percent in May.

But Tennessee's unemployment rate in May has steadily trended lower from 9.2 percent in 2011 to only 3.5 percent last month. Over the past 12 months, Tennessee employers added 53,400 more jobs. The household survey showed Tennessee job growth remained higher than the U.S. average last month.

"We have made tremendous progress over the last seven years, bringing new businesses to the state and creating hundreds of thousands of new private sector jobs," Gov. Bill Haslam said Thursday.

Wired Coffee Bar adds event space

Wired Coffee Bar, which opened in 2014 in Cambridge Square in Ooltewah, has added nearly 1,500 square foot of event space complete with an outdoor deck.

"We continually have requests for meeting and event space, from both individuals and businesses alike, and Wired has now responded to these requests," said Lisa Goolsby, Owner of Wired Coffee Bar. "The local community is seeking a casual environment for business meetings as well as a location to host showers, dinners, church groups and private parties. Our new event space will easily be able to accommodate most of these needs,"

With room to accommodate up to 99 people, the new rentable space can be reserved in advance and configured to meet many different needs from sit down dinners to small groups, parties and business meetings.

Mortgage rates rise; 30-year rate to 4.62 %

Long-term U.S. mortgage rates jumped this week after two straight weeks of declines, reaching their second-highest level this year.

Against a backdrop of rising interest rates in the economy, long-term loan rates have been running at their highest levels in seven years. And the Federal Reserve on Wednesday raised its benchmark interest rate for the second time this year and signaled that it may step up its pace of rate increases.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages was 4.62 percent, up from 4.54 percent last week. By contrast, the 30-year rate averaged 3.91 percent a year ago.

The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate loans increased to 4.07 percent from 4.01 percent last week.

H&R Block closing 400 U.S. offices

Shares of H&R Block were down for the second day Thursday following the tax preparer's announcement that it would shutter 400 offices in response to a new tax law that could simplify the average American's return.

H&R Block reported a 4 percent increase in revenue and a 2.5 percent jump in its U.S. client base in 2018, but the company said it expected revenue to decline 3 percent next year. Its stock fell 18 percent Wednesday and another 2 percent Thursday, falling to $23.77 from $29.60 in two days.

ECB to phase out bond buying boost

The European Central Bank on Thursday said it would phase out by the end of this year its bond-buying stimulus for the 19 countries that use the euro. It had deployed the program in 2015 to save the region from the risk of falling prices and growth, and as Greece's debt crisis raised questions about the euro's future.

The move came a day after the U.S. Federal Reserve raised interest rates for the second time this year, reversing rate cuts it started making almost ten years ago during the financial crisis.

"We are in an altogether different world to only a couple of years ago," said Patrick O'Donnell, senior investments manager at Aberdeen Standard Investments.

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