October 7, 2006 in Business

Idaho jobless rate near record low

The Spokesman-Review
 

Idaho’s unemployment continues to hover at near-record lows.

Only 3.3 percent of the state’s labor force was looking for work in September. Schools and agriculture were two of the top sectors hiring last month, according the Idaho Commerce & Labor Department. Jobs in food processing, trucking and fresh-pack warehouses picked up during the fall harvest.

Job growth was also robust in the Idaho Panhandle. Kootenai County’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.4 percent in September, down from 3.8 percent a year ago.

Unemployment rates in other counties were: Bonner, 4.2 percent; Boundary, 8.4 percent; Benewah, 8.5 percent; and Shoshone, 7.8 percent.

Washington

SEC asked to OK corporate blogs

Jonathan Schwartz, avid blogger and chief executive of Sun Microsystems Inc., has asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to allow companies to disclose significant financial information through blogs.

With a growing number of major companies now publishing corporate blogs or online diaries, and an SEC chairman with a penchant for technological innovation, Schwartz is making the case for blogs — including his on the Sun Web site — as a way to expand investors’ access to information.

The SEC position is that current regulations do allow for blogs, like news releases, regulatory filings, Web sites and webcasts, to be used to disseminate companies’ financial information, provided a particular blog reaches a broad audience.

Delta’s liability may be billions

Delta Air Lines Inc.’s liability to investors who financed 270 of its aircraft in return for tax benefits could exceed $4 billion, new court documents show.

The numbers suggest Delta faces a confrontation over its aircraft-financing deals that could be nearly as large as the one UAL Corp.’s United Airlines experienced in the final stages of its bankruptcy reorganization. United’s exit from Chapter 11 proceedings was nearly delayed by a quarrel over $5.1 billion in so-called leverage-lease claims.

Delta, the country’s third-largest airline by passenger traffic, has spent a year in bankruptcy proceedings and is aiming to complete its reorganization by the middle of 2007.

Tougher furnace rules rejected

The Energy Department on Friday proposed to let states decide whether to increase the required efficiency of residential furnaces much beyond what’s now on the market, rejecting calls for significantly tougher national standards.

With consumers facing high heating bills each winter, furnace efficiency has become an increasingly important matter for both keeping down costs and saving energy.

The department rejected a call by energy efficiency advocates to boost the minimum standard for gas furnaces to 90 percent efficiency. It argued that such a standard might not be needed in warmer regions.


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