Archive for June, 2011
Not the best way to start off the week on the BizBlog, but here are a couple of Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notifications from the state Employment Security Department:
Company: Monterey Gormet Foods (Kent) will lay off 75 employees,
effective August 17, 2011
Date of Notification: June 20, 2011
Company: Wells Fargo Home Mortgage Servicing (Bellevue) will lay off 113 employees,
effective August 21, 2011
Date of Notification: June 22, 2011
So far just one bank was shut down by government regulators, Mountain Heritage Bank in Clayton, Ga. It was taken over by First American Bank in Athens, Ga. It’s the 48th bank closure of the year and this one is estimated to cost the FDIC $41.1 million.
Below is a press release from the Washington Employment Security Department about average wages. The cutbacks in lower-paying jobs is suspected as a factor for the rise in the average wage:
OLYMPIA – Washington’s average annual wage increased in 2010, due in part to the toll the recession took on lower-paid workers.
The 2.1 percent increase pushed the average annual wage to $48,162. That’s an average weekly wage of $926.
“An increase in the average wage can be misleading, because it’s not caused solely by raises,” said Employment Security Commissioner Paul Trause.
The average wage can go up when employers eliminate a lot more low-paying jobs than higher-wage jobs. It also can rise if employers increase work hours for part-time employees rather than hire new workers.
Data Doctors, a Bellingham computer service and repair company, is preparing to move into a bigger office while closing its Barkley and Sehome offices.
The new office will be at 1019 Iowa Street, in the former Mills Electric/Mt. Baker Ski Area building near Interstate 5. Owner Mark Knittel said in a press release the new location will open on Tuesday, July 5. Before July 5, customers can get the regular computer services at the Sehome Shopping Center location.
“This move represents a strategic investment by Data Doctors in order to provide a higher level of managed
service offerings for small business customers, and to provide easier access for our in-store residential
customers across Whatcom and Skagit Counties. We have increased our staff significantly over the last
year, and expect to continue this growth in the new facility, based on strong positive response from our
growing customer base, and the additional service offerings that the new building will enable,” Knittel said in a press release.
For more information about the company, call 360-527-8679 or click this (link)
Here’s a press release about the new owners at The Fireside:
J.D. and Rebecca Merris recently acquired The Fireside Martini & Wine Bar in Bellingham’s Bakerview Square.
The Bellingham couple says they want to cultivate a friendly and cozy atmosphere at The Fireside Martini & Wine Bar, which features upholstered furniture and, of course, a fireplace.
“This is a great meeting place for couples, friends and social groups,” said J.D. Merris, who will cut back on his real-estate activities in order to manage The Fireside Martini & Wine Bar. “In addition to a wide selection of martinis, wine and spirits, we offer five beers on tap.”
Merris said The Fireside Martini & Wine Bar will start offering lunch later this summer. He added that its menu will gradually be expanded and emphasize local and organic food.
“We’ll draw upon our passion for food and phase into a new menu that will please foodies,” Merris said. “We’ll also be training our staff so our new gluten-free options stay that way during preparation and serving.”
The Fireside Martini & Wine Bar, which opened May 1, 2010, is located in Bakerview Square at 416 W. Bakerview Road. It retains the same operating hours of 4-10 p.m. Monday through Saturday until lunch is added. Smooth jazz will be offered Friday and Saturday nights. For more information, call 360-738-1000 or visit www.firesidemartini.com.
Below are some tidbits I’ll be using for Thursday’s BizTalk column:
– Global Insight prepared a report for the U.S. Council of Mayors, studying the economies of 363 metro areas. The Bellingham metro area — which includes all of Whatcom County — increased its Gross Metro Product from $7.9 billion in 2009 to $8.1 billion in 2010. That ranked Bellingham 202nd highest, behind Olympia ($8.8 billion) but ahead of nearby places like Yakima and Medford, Ore.
– The more discouraging part of the report revolved around employment. The study estimates it won’t be until the first quarter of 2016 before Bel-lingham returns to peak level of employment in 2007. So it’s another five years before this area is expected to recover jobs-wise from the reces-sion/financial meltdown of 2008. Most of the other Washington metro areas, including Seattle, are expected to get back to that peak level of employment by 2014.
– The study estimates Whatcom County’s unemployment rate will be 8 percent at the end of 2011 (last month it was 8.4 percent), 7.3 percent in 2012 and 6.5 percent in 2013.
– It appears Bellingham’s economy had a busy run between 2000 and 2010. According to the study, Bellingham’s GMP rose 6.2 percent annually, ranking 27th highest out of the 363 metro areas. Between 2001 and 2011, Bellingham’s employment level increase 11.6 percent, a healthy increase compared to many other metro areas.
– Bellingham’s GMP is now actually above the GDP of several countries, including the Republic of Congo, Bahamas, Chad, Haiti and Nicaragua.
To see the entire 121-page report, click this (link) and look under the Monday, June 20 news release section.
Fueled by durable goods production, personal income in Washington state rose faster than the national average in the first quarter of 2011.
Washington’s personal income rose 2.1 percent compared to the previous quarter, the eighth highest increase in the U.S. for the quarter, according to a new report from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The national increase was 1.8 percent, significantly more than each of the previous four quarters.
In Washington, income earned in the durable goods manufacturing sector — an area dominated by Boeing — had the biggest increase among private industry segments. Transfer receipts, which include payments from the government such as unemployment benefits and social security, were down almost 1 percent. Washington’s overall income growth was more than double any of the previous four quarters.
The only other sector with a significant increase for Washington state was the professional and technical services segment. Earnings from farming, construction and real estate posted declines from the previous quarter.
With a surge in demand for wheat, North Dakota led the nation with a 6.9 percent increase in personal income for the first quarter, according to the report. Iowa, hurt by rising livestock expenses and falling production, had the lowest personal income growth at 0.7 percent.
Below is a news release from the U.S. Postal Services about the suspension of service to Canada because of the postal strike up there. (Thanks Anne-Marie Nelson at the Barkley Village Pak Mail for the head’s up).
Anyone wishing to ship critical documents or packages to Canada still has options, including FedEx, UPS and DHL. Pak Mail and other shipping places offer these services.
Here’s the news release:
Due to the expectation by Canada Post officials that the strike by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers will last until at least sometime next week, the U.S. Postal Service will suspend accepting mail destined to Canada — effective Saturday, June 18, 2011, 11:59 p.m. CDT — with the exception of Global Express Guaranteed shipments.
Below is a press release from Bellingham Marine, which recently started a timber division to its company:
Bellingham Marine recently announced the introduction of a new timber dock system.
The new product has higher load capacities than other currently available commercial timber systems and has been engineered to meet Bellingham’s strict design standards. This innovative new design also utilizes top of the line materials to insure the highest level of quality and product consistency.
The introduction of this unique product also includes the first timber system designed to maximize shipping efficiencies and decrease installation time.
With the agriculture season getting going, Whatcom County added some jobs last month, but this area also has more people looking for work.
Whatcom County’s unemployment rate was 8.4 percent last month, up from a revised rate of 8.1 percent in April, according to data release by the Washington State Employment Security Department. The rate is down from a year earlier, when it was at 8.7 percent.
This area added 710 people to the workforce between April and May, mostly in agriculture. The number of people employed in non-farm jobs remained the same month-to-month. At the same time, the number of people actively seeking work increased by 340 to 8,770, suggesting some people who may have previously given up looking for work are back.
I’ll have some further details posted on the business section later today.