Archive for July, 2012
Whatcom County’s unemployment rate dropped last month as the private sector added jobs, according to a new state report.
The local unemployment rate was 7.5 percent in June, down from a revised rate of 7.7 percent in May, according to the Washington State Em-ployment Security Department. Job growth took place in the nonfarm private sector — Last month 67,800 Whatcom County residents had jobs in private companies, the highest monthly total since November 2008.
In the overall labor force, 8,240 people were actively seeking employment last month, down 680 people compared to a year ago.
In the past year locally, the trade and transportation industry added 900 people, while manufacturing (up 400) and retail trade (up 400) also grew. Leisure and hospitality (down 400) and state government (down 300) were the only two main industries that declined in the past year.
Whatcom’s June unemployment rate remained lower than several nearby counties, including Skagit (9.2 percent) and Snohomish (8.3 percent). At 5.6 percent, San Juan County had the lowest county unemployment rate in the state. Grays Harbor had the highest county unemployment rate, at 13 percent. The state unemployment rate, not seasonally adjusted, was 8.2 percent in June.
Here are a few interesting items in this week’s Bellingham building permits:
Permits filed, but not yet issued:
– At 2815 Meridian St. (former Mojo Music space), a tenant improvement permit for an office and religious center.
– At 2418 Alabama St., where the Yorky’s gas station remodel is taking place, a permit to put in a Pizzazza eatery.
– At 2502 Cornwall Ave., tenant improvements for an Edward Jones office.
– At 2432 E. Bakerview, an expansion project for the tenant, DK Diesel.
Press release on new insurance office opening:
Whatcom County resident Shane Vander Giessen will open a branch of ProStar Insurance in Bellingham on Tuesday, July 24.
Hotel construction activity is expected to pick up soon in north Bellingham.
Last week a building permit was issued for Marriott’s Springhill Suites project at 4040 Northwest Ave., near the West Bakerview Road intersection. This phase of the project will have 122 rooms and underground parking. The general contractor on this $12.3 million project is Vandervert Construction of Spokane, and the owner is 360 Hotel Group, based in Lynnwood.
Originally the second phase called for 83 more rooms; it is not clear whether that’s still the case. Officials working on the project could not be reached to get details about the second phase or how long the first phase is expected to take.
One other major hotel project in that area, the La Quinta Inn at 1063 W. Bakerview Road, is expected to get re-started soon, said Dale Sweeney, an architect involved with the project.
Construction began last year but stopped last winter after the framing was built because of a financial problem with the project. He said the financing issues are just about resolved.
Sweeney said that the framing work was recently inspected and held up well during the delay. He said not much will need to be done before moving forward with construction.
The Blockbuster inside the Barkley Haggen store is having a closing sale, which is expected to last into late August. DVDs, games and other products are discounted.
It’s the last Blockbuster store in Bellingham. In Whatcom County, the other Blockbuster store is in Lynden.
Below is a post I noticed on Facebook from Juice Peddler, where customers hop on a bike and pedal their way into a blended juice drink. For details on the company, click this (link).
Hey there all, so after much deliberation Kelli and I are looking for someone or ones to take over the Juice Peddler. After four years and sooo many good times, we are going to be moving on. We will continue to be at the Bellingham’s Farmers Market and other events throughout the summer, so come by say hi, and if your interested in taking over one of the most entertaining businesses out there nows your chance. Send us an email, facebook or come by the market and we can talk. Cheers to all past, present and future peddlers!!
So far today government regulators have shut down four banks (one in Kansas, one in Florida, two in Georgia), making it 37 so far in 2012. That’s a significantly slower pace than recent years.
I’ll post again if any other are closed before I leave the office today.
Here’s the latest Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification from the state about company layoffs in Auburn. According to The Seattle Times (link) the company is closing the warehouse. According to the article, “Lumpers” load and unload groceries into Safeway warehouses.
Company: Universal Lumpers (Auburn) will lay off 97 employees,
effective September 24, 2012
Date of Notification: July 19, 2012
Whatcom County retailers posted strong sales numbers at the beginning of 2012, particularly outside of Bellingham.
Overall retail sales in Whatcom County totaled $716.1 million in the first quarter of 2012, up 8.9 percent compared to the same period last year, according to newly released data from the Washington State Department of Revenue. Retail trade, which focuses on sales that took place in stores, was up 7.2 percent compared to a year earlier.
Whatcom County outperformed the state average in terms of retail sales growth, according to the data. Overall retail sales in Washington totaled $24.1 billion in the first quarter, up 4.7 percent from a year earlier. Retail trade statewide increased 4.2 percent to $11.1 billion.
San Francisco-based Union Bank is closing its Lynden branch next week.
The final day of business for the branch at 8108 Guide Meridian is Friday, July 27, said Alan Gulick, communications manager for the bank’s Pa-cific Northwest region. All accounts from the Lynden branch will be moved to the Bellingham branch at 8108 Woburn St. The Lynden branch has five employees.
Gulick said in an e-mail that the company is constantly evaluating branch performance and locations, which led to the decision to close the Lynden office. Despite the Lynden branch closure, he said that overall the Pacific Northwest region offers significant long-term growth opportunities.
“We are proactively looking to expand our branch banking footprint,” said Gulick, noting that the bank has 50 branches between Salem, Ore. north to Whatcom County.
He said it will remain business-as-usual for the two Union Bank branches in Bellingham.
“We remain committed to Bellingham and Whatcom County,” Gulick said.
According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Union Bank had $11.7 million in deposits in the Lynden branch as of June 30, 2011 and $43.5 million in deposits in its three Whatcom County branches. Peoples Bank had the highest concentration of Whatcom County deposits in June 2011, with $644.7 million.
Union Bank acquired its three Whatcom County branches in April 2010 when Everett-based Frontier Bank was taken over by the FDIC.