Itron to purchase Asais, a French company
Itron Inc., the Liberty Lake developer of products for the utility industry, announced plans to buy Asais, a French energy information management software and consulting services company.
The companies did not disclose the sale amount. It’s expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2011.
Asais has developed energy information management solutions through state-of-the-art software and online services. Its products align closely with others Itron has acquired or developed in this country.
The companies have collaborated for several years, including smart metering and smart grid initiatives with a number of utilities in Europe, Africa and Middle East.
Stimulus program’s end trims jobless checks
With the expiration of a federal stimulus program today, weekly benefit checks to 150,000 unemployed Washington workers will shrink by $25, the state Employment Security Department said Friday.
Nearly 400,000 workers in the state have collected more than $500 million since May 2009, shortly after the stimulus bill was enacted.
The average weekly unemployment benefit in Washington is $379, with the minimum at $135.
“When your check is only $200 or $300 a week, $25 is significant,” ESD Commissioner Paul Trause said.
The extra money was also a boost for local businesses, he added.
Business group leader McCabe quitting job
SEATTLE – The leader of the influential Building Industry Association of Washington is leaving his post after more than two decades.
Tom McCabe announced Friday that he will step down as executive director of the construction-industry group at the end of December to pursue other ventures. BIAW said McCabe will remain active within the group.
During the 21 years McCabe led BIAW, the group grew from a membership of 2,000 businesses to more than 10,000 now.
The politically active construction-industry group has expanded its influence and presence in Olympia as well, often lobbying for conservative, pro-business candidates and causes.
Demand for U.S. goods helps shrink trade deficit
WASHINGTON – The U.S. trade deficit fell to its lowest level in nine months, as growing demand for American goods overseas and a falling dollar pushed exports to their highest level in more than two years.
The trade deficit narrowed to $38.7 billion in October, the Commerce Department reported Friday. The figure was 13.2 percent below September’s deficit of $44.6 billion.
U.S. exports rose 3.2 percent to $158.7 billion, the highest level since August 2008. Imports dipped 0.5 percent to $197.4 billion, with lower demand for oil and foreign-made cars.