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Business in brief: Unemployment rises in Spokane

Wed., July 19, 2006

Spokane County’s jobless rate inched upward in June, topping 5 percent for the first time since March. June’s unemployment rate in Spokane was 5.2 percent, up from 4.8 percent in May, according to data released Tuesday by the state.

That’s still better than a year ago: Spokane’s June 2005 jobless rate was 5.6 percent.

For the state as a whole, June unemployment was even with the May rate at 5.1 percent, seasonally adjusted. The national rate for June is 4.6 percent, also identical to the May rate.

Spokane’s biggest changes from May to June were 500 more jobs in construction, 200 new jobs in manufacturing and an increase of 200 jobs in leisure and hospitality.

Statewide, the sectors showing strongest June growth were professional and business services (+1,400), state and local government (+1,300), and health and education (+900).

Moyie Springs, Idaho

Sawmill plans 65 layoffs

A sawmill here has announced plans to cut back to one shift.

Low lumber prices triggered the temporary layoffs at Riley Creek Lumber Co., which begin Monday. About 65 workers will be affected. The remote mill is located near the Canadian border.

Eight-foot studs are the sawmill’s primary product. Currently, log prices are at record highs, while stud prices have plunged to their lowest level since 1991, according to company officials.

Market conditions will be re-evaluated in 60 days, with hopes of restarting the second shift, officials said.


Toyota issues another recall

Toyota Motor Corp. said Tuesday it was recalling about 420,000 vehicles globally, including some Echo and Prius models sold in the U.S., over a faulty engine part.

The faulty part is the latest in a string of problems requiring recalls by Toyota, raising doubts over whether the automaker can maintain quality standards amid booming sales.

The recall affects 268,570 vehicles sold in Japan across 12 models manufactured in 2001, including Corollas, the compact cars Vitz and Platz and the hybrid Prius, the company said in a statement submitted to Japan’s Transport Ministry.

Tallahassee, Fla.

State Farm raises rates

State Farm, one of Florida’s largest insurers, will raise property insurance rates by an average of 52.7 percent this year under a plan approved Tuesday by state regulators.

The company said that the higher premiums will allow it to keep doing business in Florida despite predictions for more hurricanes.

State Farm said spiraling costs for its own insurance against high claims is driving the increase, following two devastating hurricane seasons and forecasts for more.


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