Archive for May, 2012
I was looking at the April unemployment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and found some interesting things to pass along:
– Bismarck, N.D., had the lowest unemployment rate, 2.8 percent, followed by Fargo, N.D. and Lincoln, Neb., at 3.3 percent each.
– In April, 41 metropolitan areas reported jobless rates of at least 10.0 percent, down from 79 areas a year earlier. 163 areas posted rates below 7.0 percent, up from 100 areas in April of last year.
– El Centro, Calif., and Yuma, Ariz., recorded the highest unemployment rates in April, 26.8 and 26.0 percent, respectively. The next eight areas with jobless rates of at least 15.0 percent were all in California.
A public meeting is being held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 7 to introduce a 14-unit apartment proposal for the corner of East Maple Street and Cornwall Avenue.
The project will have 12 studio apartments and two one-bedroom apartments with surface parking. Construction of the buildings will be mostly done off site, trucked in and put into place.
The public meeting is required before the company can apply for land use permits. The meeting will be held at the Bellingham Public Library lecture room. For questions about the meeting, call Todd Fuller at 360-393-3131.
Diesel and gas prices both dropped in Bellingham following the Memorial Day weekend, according to AAA Washington’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report.
The price for diesel took a significant drop the past few days. The average price for a gallon of diesel on Tuesday, May 29 was $4.33 in the Bellingham metro area, down 18 cents from a week ago and down 21 cents compared a month ago.
Bellingham’s average diesel price is no longer the highest among major metro areas. Olympia has the highest average price for diesel, at $4.45 a gallon.
Gas prices in the Bellingam averaged $4.42 a gallon on May 29, down four cents from Monday but up 2 cents compared to a week ago. The record high for Bellingham is $4.50 a gallon, set in June 2008.
Bellingham’s gas price is still the highest among major Washington metro areas, with Seattle the next highest at $4.32 a gallon.
Here’s a news release from Haggen Inc. about some senior staff changes:
Today (May 24) Haggen announced four new hires and one promotion to its senior staff in order to help manage the emerging opportunities the company has found since the Northwest Fresh brand launched at its Bellevue, Washington store in November 2011. New hires include John Turley as Senior Vice President of Operations; Clement Stevens as Senior Vice President of Sales and Merchandising; Guy DiPasqua as Vice President of Pharmacy; Ronette Snyder as Vice President of Marketing; and Renee Glondo as the Director of Bakery.
The additions come following Haggen’s successful launch of its Northwest Fresh initiative built upon the brand pillars of community, homemade and delight. Combined, these new staff members bring over 130 years of retail experience to their respective positions and departments and will help strengthen the company’s ability to meet the needs of customers as Northwest Fresh expands throughout Haggen’s 28-store network.
Ferndale’s IMCO General Construction will soon start a $15.7 million renovation and expansion project of the Priest Rapids Fall Chinook Hatchery facility located in Mattawa.
The hatchery is in Eastern Washington’s Grant County, near the Priest Rapids Dam.
IMCO expects to get started later this month and expects it to be completed in 2014.
Originally built in 1963 as a salmon spawning channel, Priest Rapids is now a conventional operational facility and has the most successful adult Chinook salmon return rate of any hatchery in the Columbia River system, according to a news release from IMCO.
IMCO General Construction is an industry leader in heavy civil construction. For more information, visit imcoconstruction.com.
– The City Grill restaurant on Cornwall Avenue (near Kids Northwest) has closed. A note on the door notes that a Chinese restaurant will be taking over that location. The new restaurant will focus on foods from Northeastern China, according to the note.
– Across the street on Cornwall, a flower and gift store called Life’s a Party has also closed.
– The Time in Play Cafe on E. Holly St. (near the YMCA) has also closed. Here’s a note posted from the cafe’s Facebook page:
Its official folks. Time In Play Cafe has closed our doors. We’d planned to be open today, but have run out of coffee and frankly, stamina: its been hard to say goodbye over and over again, my staff and I, as are many of you, pretty broken hearted. Its been a wonderful journey and getting to see so much joy in Bellingham’s children and families and parents coming together means that Time In has truly been a success. . My hope is that this is more a sabbatical than closure and that someone(s) will find the means by which to bring this beautiful space to its full potential as a community center and hub. Love you all and thank you so much for your love and support. xo
Here’s a Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification issued by the state Employment Security Department:
Company: Delta Air Lines Reservation Call Center (SeaTac) will lay off 189 employees,
effective September 01, 2012
Date of Notification: May 22, 2012
As the state starts phasing out of the liquor business, here are some key dates about state closures (these stores will be closing as a state business, but are expected to re-open sometime after June 1 under private ownership:
Tuesday, May 22 – Last day for the state stores on Lakeway and near Walmart.
Thursday, May 24 – Auction day for the Barkley store (all the other stores already auctioned off, this one is back on the block after the winning bidder didn’t pay).
Monday, May 28 – Last day for Bellingham South (3115 Old Fairhaven Parkway) and Ferndale (1730 La Bounty).
Thursday, May 31 – Last day for the Barkley store.
T-Mobile is holding a hiring information session as it begins hiring more workers at its Bellingham call center.
The event is 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesday May 23 at WorkSource Whatcom at 101 Prospect St. The company, which is closing seven call centers across the U.S., but has indicated that it will expand in call centers that are remaining open, including the one in Bellingham.
For more information about the information session, call WorkSource Whatcom at 360-676-1521.
Whatcom County’s unemployment rate dropped significantly in April, hitting its lowest level since the end of 2008.
The local unemployment rate last month was 7.2 percent, down from a revised rate of 7.9 percent in March, according to the Washington State Employment Security Department. It’s the lowest level since December 2008, when the unemployment rate was 5.9 percent.
The drop in Whatcom’s unemployment rate was mostly due to unemployed people finding work rather than discouraged workers leaving the labor force, said Reinhold Groepler, a local labor economist for the state.
The number of Whatcom County residents employed totaled 102,160, which is up 4,390 compared to April 2011. The number of people unemployed last month shrunk by 630 in the past year to 7,920.
The number of Whatcom County residents employed is the highest total since November 2008. The peak employment took place in August 2008, when the total was 104,450.
April tends to be a period when the unemployment rate drops in Whatcom County. According to the ESD, the 22-year average indicates a 0.7 percent point drop between March and April, which is also what happened this year.
In the non-farm private sector, trade and transportation added 1,100 people in the past year, while manufacturing added 500 people. Interestingly, travel and leisure had a significant drop, shrinking by 600 people.
This will be updated later today on the main business page of bellinghamherald.com.