Archive for September, 2012
Whatcom County’s unemployment rate rose in August as more people began actively looking for work.
Last month’s unemployment rate was 7.7 percent locally, up from a revised rate of 7.4 percent in July, according to new data from the Washington State Employment Security Department. While up from July, the August rate is down from a year earlier, when it was at 8.3 percent.
The number of people in the workforce locally totaled 109,190 last month, up nearly a 1,000 compared to July. The number of people employed increased by 490 in the past month, while the number of people actively seeking employment increased by 420 to 8,450.
While the number of people actively seeking work increased from July to August, those seeking unemployment benefits locally continued to drop. According to the ESD, initial unemployment claims totaled 1,067 locally last month, the lowest total since August 2011. Those receiving continuing unemployment benefits totaled 2,140 last month, the lowest since October 2008.
In terms of job growth, the manufacturing industry continues to be one of Whatcom County’s bright spots. Last month 9,000 people were estimated to be working in manufacturing locally, the highest monthly total since September 2008. Construction has also seen some growth, adding 600 people in the past year, along with professional services (up 500 in the past year) and transportation (up 400).
Whatcom’s unemployment rate remains below several nearby counties, including Skagit (9.3 percent in August), Snohomish (8.3 percent) and Island (8.5 percent). Ferry County had the highest county rate last month at 13.3 percent, while San Juan had the lowest rate at 5.1 percent.
Last month 53,724 people flew out of the Bellingham International Airport, the second-highest monthly total ever and just off the record set in July.
According to data collected by the Port of Bellingham, 390,795 people have used the airport to travel in the first eight months of 2012. The airport is on pace to surpass the half-million passenger total for the year.
Passenger traffic should start slowing down in the coming months. Frontier Airlines recently stopped it once-a-day seasonal flights to Denver (Alaska Airlines also ended its seasonal nonstop flights to Portland). In August, Frontier had 4,176 passengers, or nearly 135 passengers a day.
Here’s a second Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification from the state. Dendreon is a bio-tech company known for its cancer research:
Company: Dendreon Corporation (Seattle) will lay off 145 employees,
effective November 20, 2012
Date of Notification: September 20, 2012
Here’s the latest post of interesting items found in Bellingham building permit applications:
Accepted applications, but not yet issued:
– An application was filed to remodel the former College Store space at the Sehome Village Shopping Center (320 36th St.). New tenant not named on permit, I’ll see if I can track down the new tenant.
– Costco has applied for a remodeling permit to put in a new rotisserie oven in its bakery/meat section.
– At 4540 Cordata Parkway, a permit to remodel the space in unit 101 for Pacific Medical Rehabilitation, which is a new tenant.
– At La Fiamma, a permit to put in a new take-out window.
– A permit was issued to demolish a steel warehouse building at 1010 Railroad Ave., an area where apartment development is taking place.
– Permits were issued to put in a Things Remembered store in Bellis Fair (unit 113). Things Remembered is a national retailer that specializes in personalized gifts.
– At 3120 Howe Place (near the new Barkley movie theater), a permit was issued for a two-story medical/dental building.
Here’s a Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification from the state about American Airlines, which is making staff cuts as it goes through bankruptcy restructuring. American Airlines is sending warning notices to more than 11,000 employees, according to news reports.
Company: American Airlines (Seattle) will lay off 66 employees,
effective November 16, 2012
Date of Notification: September 18, 2012
that Canadians are buying in large quantities in Whatcom County. It’s also eggs, according to an article in The Province (link). The B.C. Egg Marketing Board estimates that cross border shopping costs the B.C. egg industry $3.1 million a year. The photo of the fire truck made out of 20,000 egg cartons was an interesting way of dramatizing the situation.
Bellingham-based Black Rock Cable is merging with Wave Broadband of Kirkland.
The companies made the announcement in a joint press release on Thursday, Sept. 20. Black Rock customers won’t see any changes during the transition, with the same service and name during the transition, said Jody Veeder of Wave Broadband. She noted most of Black Rock’s accounts are in commercial entities in the private and public sector.
Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
Black Rock provides high-speed fiber optic services in Whatcom, Skagit and Snohomish counties. Wave Broadband provides video, Internet and phone services across the West Coast, serving more than 390,000 residential and commercial customers.
“The merger with Wave will allow Black Rock employees to continue providing our customers with the high-quality personalized service they rely on, for the long-term,” said Bob Warshawer, Black Rock’s president.
Black Rock customers can call 360-738-3116 with any questions regarding service.
BevMo!, an alcoholic beverage specialty retailer, has applied for a state liquor license to open a store in the Bellingham market.
According to the application, the company wants to operate at 114 Stuart Road, in the retail center near Walmart that has United Furniture as a tenant.
BevMo! has 121 stores in California, Arizona and Washington and typically has a store size of 10,000 square feet. It has been busy opening stores in this state since the passage of Initiative 1183, recently opening in Silverdale and Tacoma, with plans to open in Tukwila on Friday, Sept. 28.
At this point I’ve been unable to get a hold of someone at BevMo! to get details. On its website, (link) the company does not list Bellingham among in its “coming soon” section as of Wednesday, Sept. 19.
Here’s a (link) to an interesting article in the Skagit Valley Herald online edition about Skagit Valley Malting, which is opening a facility in Burlington.
According to the article, the malt production facility should be open in the first quarter of 2013, providing the ingredient to local home beer brewers and microbreweries.
Rebecca Hamm recently opened a Bellingham hair salon called Off the Top Studio on James Street near Avenue Bread.
The salon offers nine hair stations that are rented out to stylists. It will have a licensed massage therapist who is also a licensed esthetician and an eyelash extension specialist. Skin care services include facials, chemical peels and waxing.
Hamm has spent 20 years in the hair industry,18 of which in a corporate setting before deciding to start her own business.
For further details, call 360-325-7787 ext 101.