Week in review


Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories Inc. will add 300 positions in 2008, most of them at its Pullman headquarters, the company announced. Spokeswoman Susan Fagan said SEL employs more than 1,000 engineers, technicians, assemblers and salespeople on a campus that has grown to include 10 buildings.

“Microsoft Corp.’s $41 billion takeover bid appears to have backed Yahoo Inc. into a corner, leaving the struggling Internet pioneer with the unpleasant choice of selling to a detested rival or pursuing other agonizing alternatives likely to require the help of an even fiercer foe, Google Inc.


Lingering hopes that the U.S. economy might avert a recession withered after the nation’s service sector – its banks, travel companies, contractors and stores, among others – shrank for the first time in five years.

“New numbers from the U.S. Department of Commerce understate the value of Spokane exports but accurately reflect strong growth in international sales, the head of the International Trade Alliance said Tuesday. Spokane exports increased almost 20 percent from 2005 to 2006, the department reported last month. The 2006 total was $691 million.

“For the second time in four years, the ambitious online world Uru fell victim to corporate accountants. Uru, developed by Spokane-based Cyan Worlds, has been shut down by game publisher GameTap after one year.


The mortgage crisis that’s creating waves of foreclosures and tighter access to credit nationwide will affect the local economy, but don’t look for an Inland Northwest recession in 2008, economic forecaster Shaun O’L. Higgins told an audience in Spokane Valley on Wednesday morning


On Thursday, the nation’s retailers turned in their worst January in almost four decades as high gas and food prices, a slumping housing market, tighter credit and a tougher job market pushed consumers to the edge.

Sales at 43 retailers surveyed by the UBS-International Council of Shopping Centers rose just 0.5 percent in January, well below the original 1.5 percent forecast.

“One of downtown Spokane’s distinctive office buildings is almost entirely leased after being less than half-full in 2006.

The eight-story Lincoln Plaza, at Lincoln Street and Riverside Avenue, is about 95 percent leased, said Tom Barbieri, president of property manager Goodale & Barbieri Co.


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