Archive for March, 2011
Here are some interesting insights from Gregg Saretsky, CEO of WestJet, about the state of Canadian airport traffic and the impact of Canadian taxes on airplane tickets. It’s across much of Canada’s media today; here’s one (link).
According to the article, Saretsky estimates about 325,000 airplane passengers in the Vancouver area fly out of the Bellingham airport a year, with about 700,000 flying out of Seattle. If true, that would mean a large percentage of Canadian travelers in Bellingham: Last year 391,155 total passengers flew out of Bellingham, according to data collected by the Port of Bellingham. That total is expected to be much higher this in 2011, given all the new flights from the Bellingham airport.
This seems to be getting discussed more often in Canadian media these days, it’ll be interesting to see if it results in changes to Canadian airplane ticket prices.
Digital Threads, a company that’s focused on embroidery logo wear since 1998, recently moved into the Carnation Building on Main Street in Ferndale, near Samuel’s Furniture.
One of the reasons for the move into the 2,200-square-foot space is because the business wanted to add on-site screen printing for items such as shirts. Brent Wright of Digital Threads said in an e-mail they used to contract the screen printing work out, but it’s the fastest growing segment of the company’s business. To better control cost and quality, they decided to offer the services in-house.
Over the years the company has done work for both national and local clients. For details, call 360-366-3100.
A new record was set for the month of February in terms of passengers flying out of Bellingham International Airport.
Last month 33,424 passengers used airlines flying out of Bellingham, up 26.4 percent compared to February 2010, according to data from the Port of Bellingham. The all-time monthly record was set in July 2010, when 41,435 passengers used the airport.
For the first two months of the year, 68,458 people have flown out of Bellingham, up 34.4 percent compared to the first two months of 2010.
With its daily flights to Honolulu, Alaska Airlines has significantly increased its Bellingham passenger numbers. Last month 17,174 passengers used Alaska or Horizon Air flights out of Bellingham, slightly ahead of Allegiant Air’s total of 16,250.
Whatcom’s workforce continues to shrink, according to the latest employment numbers.
In February the unemployment rate was 9.6 percent, up from a revised January rate of 9.3 percent, according to the Washington State Employment Security Department. Last month 10,000 people were actively seeking work, up 210 compared to January.
February’s local unemployment rate was lower than a year earlier, when the rate was 10.2 percent and the peak number during this three-year period of economic troubles. However, there are 900 less people employed in non-farm jobs in Whatcom County year-over-year. The total Whatcom County non-farm jobs last month was estimated to be 76,400, a level not commonly seen since 2004.
The unemployment rate remains higher in several nearby counties. Skagit’s unemployment rate was 11.3 percent in February, while Snohomish had a rate of 10.3 percent.
I’ll have further details posted online later today in the main business section.
An application was filed to build a 4,100-square-foot Chase bank branch in the northwest corner of the Ferndale Haggen shopping center on 1815 Main St.
The City of Ferndale is taking public comment on the project using the optional SEPA process through Wednesday, March 30. If there are no significant issues, it then moves on through the building permit process.
I’ve had a few readers e-mail me wondering when construction might start on the new Regal Cinemas movie theater project in the Barkley Village district.
Jeff Kochman of The Barkley Company said they are finalizing some of the construction details and are aiming to start construction work sometime this summer.
Lowe’s Home Improvement is having a vendor fair in the coming weeks for customers.
From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 2, vendors from a variety of companies, including Black & Decker, DeWalt, Kohler and Olympic paints will be at the Bellingham store near Sunset Square answering questions about projects and talking about their products.
The vendor fair is expected to continue on other Saturdays this spring, depending on vendor and customer interest, said Jim Wilde, human resource manager at the Bellingham Lowe’s.
Less than four weeks remain to apply for tax amnesty with the Washington State Department of Revenue.
Monday, April 18 is the application deadline for this temporary opportunity to pay back taxes without penalties or interest. All back taxes must be paid by Saturday, April 30.
The amnesty program allows businesses that have outstanding liability on certain taxes due prior to February 1, 2011, to pay those taxes without paying the associated penalties and interest, according to a press release from DOR.
So far, more than 5,000 businesses have taken advantage of the program, generating more than $12.6 million for the state while saving themselves $4.3 million in penalties and interest.
The amnesty application and other information on qualifying can be found on the Department’s website at this (link)
Mortgage delinquency continues to rise in Whatcom County, according to a new national report.
Locally 4.16 percent of Whatcom County mortgage loans were more than 90 days delinquent, according to a report from CoreLogic, a provider of real estate and financial information. That’s up from 4.09 percent in November and is at its highest level during this current real estate bubble burst. In comparison, the 90-day delinquency rate in January 2009 was 2.1 percent.
While on the rise, Whatcom’s delinquency rate remains below the state (6 percent) and national (7.86 percent) rates.
The percentage of loans in some stage of the foreclosure process was 1.55 percent in December, up from 1.5 percent in November. In January 2009, the foreclosure rate was 0.68 percent. The state rate for December was 2.19 percent, while the U.S. rate was 3.58 percent.
The percentage of loans not sold at auction and returned to the lender locally in December was 0.25 percent, up from 0.24 percent in November. The state rate was 0.45 percent, while the U.S. rate was 0.67 percent.