June 22, 2011 in Business

Briefcase

 

County jobless rate up despite rise in hiring

More than 21,000 people in Spokane County remain jobless even as private sector hiring is on the rise, according to the latest state employment report.

Spokane County’s unemployment rate sat at 9 percent in May, up from 8.9 percent in April.

While businesses have been hiring during the past 18 months – most noticeably in the construction, hospitality and health care sectors – government has shed a similar number of jobs. Government, including federal, state and local agencies and institutions, accounted for about 37,000 jobs across the county.

The trends are expected to continue through the summer, said Doug Tweedy, a state labor economist in Spokane.

In the past 18 months about 7,000 people have migrated to Spokane from elsewhere in search of work – a normal expectation during economic down cycles. Some of those people are now leaving, but just as influential on the overall numbers are those who had given up trying to find work this spring but who are now seeking summer employment.

John Stucke

Home sales decline despite price slump

WASHINGTON – Sales of existing U.S. single-family homes and condos fell 3.8 percent in May as a slump in prices failed to spur activity in the market, according to data released Tuesday.

The National Association of Realtors said sales fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.81 million. Resales fell a revised 1.8 percent in April to 5 million, compared with the initial estimate of a 0.8 percent fall to 5.05 million units.

The decline was in line with forecasts.

Associated Press

JPMorgan Chase settles fraud charges

WASHINGTON – JPMorgan Chase & Co. has agreed to pay $153.6 million to settle civil fraud charges that it misled buyers of complex mortgage investments just as the housing market was collapsing.

J.P. Morgan Securities failed to tell investors that a hedge fund helped select the investment portfolio and then bet that the portfolio would fail, the Securities and Exchange Commission said.

Associated Press

Paper clips

• Newspaper publisher Gannett Co. is laying off 700 workers, or 2 percent of its work force, in the latest cutback triggered by a relentless advertising slump. The layoffs Tuesday affected most of Gannett’s 82 daily newspapers in the U.S.

• Ford Motor Co. will offer inflatable rear seat belts in more of its vehicles starting next summer. The belts are now available on the 2011 Ford Explorer SUV. The company plans to offer them on the Ford Flex and two unnamed Lincoln vehicles.

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