Archive for September, 2009
For the second straight month, the Bellingham International Airport set an all-time monthly record for the number of people flying out of Bellingham.
In August 31,794 people flew out Bellingham, topping the record set in July, when 30,599 people used the airport to fly elsewhere. Of those that flew out last month, 20,213 went on Allegiant, 9,276 were on Horizon and 2,305 were on Alaska’s direct flight to Las Vegas.
For the first time in more than a decade, Washington state residents will not see an annual increase in the state minimum wage.
The Department of Labor & Industries announced the minimum wage will remain at $8.55 an hour in 2010 because the Consumer Price Index did not increase in the past 12 months.
L&I recalculates the state’s minimum wage each year in September as required by Initiative 688, which was approved by voters in 1998. The law requires it to be increased for inflation, but the index actually went down 1.9 percent. Last year, the state increased the minimum wage by 48 cents an hour after the CPI rose 5.9 percent.
Employers can continue using the current minimum wage poster for another year, said Elaine Fischer of L&I. More information about the minimum wage can be found at lni.wa.gov.
Washington is one of 10 states that adjusts the minimum wage based on inflation.
A new business opened up last week at Bellis Fair – Peruvian Silver Design. It’s using one of the kiosks in the main part of the mall, near the other jewelry stores. All of the products are from Peru, and they are open during mall hours.
It’s time for the weekly take-over of failing banks. So far this afternoon there’s been one bank closed by government regulators (details below). It’s the 95th bank closure this year. I’ll update with a new post if there are any more that close after 5 p.m.
Georigan Bank of Atlanta was closed, then taken over by First Citizens Bank and Trust of Columbia, S.C. Estimated cost to the FDIC: $892 million.
Earlier this week AP Personal Financial writer Eileen AJ Connelly had an interesting article about how consumers have changed the way they spend money. It was based on a completed survey commissioned by IBM. Here are some of the stats:
Taking steps to save money:
- 49 percent said they are going to more stores to get the best deal
- 35 percent said they have switched grocery stores.
- 72 percent said they made “significant” spending cuts.
What they are looking for:
- 45 percent said “better value” is among the most important features when shopping for food, while 36 percent said “lowest price overall” will stay on top during this recessionary period.
- 15 percent of respondents think it is “very likely” their household income will rise by 20 percent by 2014, while 45 percent said it is “not at all likely” that income rise that much in that time period.
Clothing apparently is taking a backseat these days, but not food, alcohol, tobacco and coffee. However, 29 percent said clothing is back on the shopping list when the economy begins to improve.
The survey also concluded that most of these shopping changes will stay even as the economy recovers. What do you think? Are these changes going to stick?
Horizon Bank has been seeing quite a bit of activity the past two days. As of 9:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, Horizon’s stock jumped 31 cents on the day, rising to $1.16 a share. The bank’s stock had sunk to around 60 cents a share after a poor quarterly report earlier this year.
There hasn’t been any formal announcements from Horizon as of this morning that might prompt the rise. Any thoughts?
Magdalena’s Creperie is expected to open in mid-October, said Greg Theisen, who is involved with the project.
The cafe is going into 1200 10th St., Suite 103, in the Fairhaven Village Inn building. It’ll be crepes and coffee, with the crepes having that Old World Europe style to it, according to the company’s web site, magdalenascreperie.com.
This week’s update on bank failures starts in Kentucky and Indiana, where two were shut down. Irwin Union Bank of Louisville, Kent. and Irwin Union Bank & Trust of Columbus, Ind. were closed, then taken over by First Financial Bank of Hamilton, Ohio. The cost to the FDIC is estimated to be $850 million. The closure of the two banks brings the year-to-date total of bank failures to 94.
If there are further bank closures today, I’ll update with new posts.
I’ve had a few phone calls from readers asking what’s going on in the field just west of the Barkley Haggen store. According to Jeff Kochman of the Barkley Company, they’ve done some water pipe/stormwater work, but they are now prepping the site for future development. At this point, they don’t have anything to announce about a new project or what might be going in there.
Whatcom County’s unemployment rate was at 8 percent in August, up from 7.7 percent in July and 5.1 percent in August 2008. I’ll get a full story up later today, but at first glance the numbers indicate Whatcom is still in better shape than most of Washington (which has a 9.2 percent rate, seasonably adjusted) and the U.S. (9.7 percent).