Archive for September, 2010
The Timken Company has completed the acquisition of QM Bearings and Power Transmission, Incorporated, including its Ferndale facility
QM Bearings has a facility at 5345A LaBounty Drive as well as manufacturing facilities in Prince George, British Columbia, and Wuxi, China. QM also has distribution facilities in Ontario, Texas, and Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. All will become part of the Process Industries segment of Timken’s Bearings and Power Transmission Group.
The acquisition is expected to be accretive to Timken’s earnings in its first full year with the company, according to a press release from Timken. The addition of spherical roller-bearing steel-housed units and steel couplings expands Timken’s capabilities for especially demanding applications, including sawmill and cement operations.
QM has approximately 100 employees in the U.S., Canada and China, and posted sales of more than $14 million for the 12-month period through June 30, 2010.
The Timken Company (link) focuses on friction management and power transmission products and services, enabling its customers’ machinery to perform more efficiently and reliably. It had sales of $3.1 billion in 2009, operates in 27 countries/territories and has approximately 17,000 employees.
In trying to get a sense of what the upcoming holiday season will look like, I came across a study by CIT Group Inc., which found 68 percent of retailers are planning to hire more seasonal workers than in 2009. The study also found 69 percent of retailers plan to advertise more aggressively and 57 percent will be stocking more inventory that the previous year. Here’s a (link) to the study.
Something I found interesting in the study is most of the retailers and suppliers surveyed expect spending levels to return to 2007 levels by the end of 2011, with 2010 being a step in that direction.
“The general consensus is that, having weathered the economic downturn, most retailers are in better shape today than in 2009 and have positioned themselves well to meet future consumer demand when it returns,” said Burt Feinberg, managing director of Retail Finance at CIT in the study.
Thoughts on this? Are you expecting holiday shopping in Whatcom County to be busier this year?
Here’s a press release about it from the City of Bellingham:
The City of Bellingham is accepting applications for the 2011 tourism promotion grant program. The grants are funded by lodging tax revenue, and the grant program is designed to support projects or events that bring tourists to Bellingham.
Last year the grant program was suspended due to sharp declines in lodging tax collections. Limited funding is available this year.
The grant is a competitive process. Applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 8, 2010. Applications are available in the Planning & Community Development department at Bellingham City Hall, or on the city website at this link.
Tourism promotion grants awarded in 2009 totaled $696,495, and funded the Bellingham/Whatcom County Tourism Bureau, as well as 18 other local organizations that advertised and marketed their Bellingham events to attract tourists. Funded organizations included Allied Arts, Ski to Sea, Bellingham Bay Marathon, Whatcom Symphony, and Pickford Film Center among many others. Complete program eligibility requirements are included in the application. Again this year, special consideration will be given to events that occur during the off-season, between October and May.
Questions regarding this grant program should be directed to Darby Galligan, Planning & Community Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-778-8389.
– Hobbytown USA has signed a lease to move into Bakerview Square. Renovations will begin shortly and the company is expected to be in its new 3,000-square-foot spot by April. It is currently at 4151 Meridian Street (near the Meridian Cost Cutter).
– A couple of Bellingham business registrations to note: Sea Monsters Seafood (not sure what this business will be doing) at 1215 Cornwall Ave., next to India Grill Restaurant. The other is El Amigo Mexican Restaurant, going into the former Cinco De Mayo restaurant space at 3040 Northwest Ave.
– Crazy Mike’s Video is planning to return to Ferndale by moving into Ferndale Station (near Sonic and The Woods Coffee), according to Bellingham store manager John Saxer.
The FDIC has been busy this afternoon, closing six banks for a total of 125 this year. Details below. I’ll update with new posts if there are more closures today:
No. 120: ISN Bank of Cherry Hills, N.J. was closed, then taken over by New Century Bank of Phoenixville, Penn. ISN had one branch. Estimated cost to the FDIC: $23.9 million.
No. 121-123: The Bank of Ellijay, First Commerce Community Bank and The Peoples Bank (no relation to Peoples Bank in Lynden) of Georgia were all shut down, then taken over by Community and Southern Bank of Carrollton, Ga. The three banks had 18 total branches. Total estimated cost to the FDIC: $225.5 million.
No. 125: Maritime Savings Bank of West Allis, Wis. was clsoed, then taken over by North Shore Bank of Brookfield, Wis. Maritime had nine branches. Estimated cost to the FDIC: $83.6 million.
I was forwarded an interesting link showing how high unemployment spread across the U.S. the past few years. Here’s the (link).
Basically it’s an interactive map of all the counties in the U.S. and how unemployment started becoming an issue in January 2007, starting on the East and West coasts and working inward. The high unemployment really gained momentum in early 2009.
Once we start an employment recovery, I wonder how it’ll show up on this interactive map… Will job growth be seen on the coasts first, then work inward, or will it be the areas that were the least overbuilt when the recession hit (resulting in a recovery in construction)?
– Zoe’s Bookside Bagels is now open in the Wilson Library at Western. According to Western’s website, the business is named for Mable Zoe Wilson, the library’s namesake who played an instrumental role in the expansion of the university’s libraries.
– The owners of the Kookaburra Coffee & Wine House are aiming for a November opening at Bellwether Gate (in the CH2M Hill building at Bellwether Way).
– There’s a new state liquor license application filed for the Chuckanut Ridge Wine Company spot at 1017 N. State St. in Bellingham. The new applicant is Jennifer Schwartz, with the proposed new business name The Ridge.
Here’s the press release from L&I:
TUMWATER – The Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) announced today that it will propose workers’ compensation rates for 2011 in November after the results of the fall election and the outcome of Initiative 1082. This initiative would allow private insurance carriers to write workers’ compensation insurance in Washington.
If passed, one feature of Initiative 1082 would be effective immediately and would change Washington’s workers’ compensation system for determining premium rates. The current system calculates rates based on hours worked. If the initiative passes, employers would pay premiums based on a rate for every $100 of payroll they pay workers.
L&I Director Judy Schurke noted that until the election results are available, L&I will not know which method to use to accurately calculate rates for 2011. “To be most fair to businesses, our rates proposal needs to be based on the decision that voters make on November 2,” she said.
L&I also reported that it continues to analyze data that can affect the rate they estimate is needed to pay the cost of claims that occur in 2011. The economic recession has significantly changed the amount of work being done by different industries. For example, employment in construction, a higher cost industry for workers’ compensation, has dropped by almost 30 percent. L&I is considering how this and other changes impact the lifetime costs of disability claims which must be considered in establishing rates.
While L&I has historically proposed rates for the upcoming year in September, there is no statutory requirement to do so. After the results of the election are known, L&I will immediately take steps to implement rates based on the outcome of the initiative, and on projections of the revenue needed to cover the costs of injuries that occur in 2011.
Washington’s workers’ compensation system provides benefits when workers are hurt on the job.
August was a relatively quiet month for the local and state labor market, according to a new report.
Last month Whatcom County’s unemployment rate was 7.9 percent, down slightly from a revised July rate of 8 percent, according to a report from the Washington State Employment Security Department. A year earlier, the local unemployment rate was 8.4 percent.
Washington’s unemployment rate was 8.9 percent in August, identical to the July rate.
While Whatcom County’s overall employed labor force was 99,950, up 560 compared to a year ago, much of that growth came from agriculture, self-employed and people working outside the county. Non-farm payroll employment was 77,400 in August, down 900 from a year ago.
Much of the job cuts in Whatcom’s non-farm employment were split between the government and private sector. Year-over-year government em-ployment was down 400 positions, while the private sector was down 500.
The cuts in the private sector jobs year-over-year was spread over a variety of industries, with leisure and hospitality seeing the biggest drop. The local construction industry, which has posted significant job declines since the recession began, was fairly stable in August, employing 6,200 people. That’s down 100 compared to August 2009.
“Construction received the brunt of the job losses last year and appears to have stabilized at this level,” said Reinhold Groepler, a regional labor economist for the state.
Last month 8,560 Whatcom County residents were actively seeking work in August, nearly identical to July’s total of 8,530.
Groepler expects the local unemployment numbers to remain stable heading into the fall. In recent years Whatcom’s unemployment rate hits its lowest level in October, then rises after the holiday season.
The unemployment rate was also stable in nearby counties. Skagit’s rate was 9.2 percent in August, down from 9.4 percent in July. Snohomish posted an unemployment rate of 9.3 percent in August, down from 9.6 percent in July.
The T-Mobile call center has scheduled another job recruitment event for Thursday, Sept. 16 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 340 Bakerview Road.
The company hired about 30 customer service representatives earlier this year and is looking for another 32 people to start in October. The customer service representatives pay up to $13.37 an hour and offers a benefits package and monthly bonuses.