Arrow-right Camera



Idaho unemployment drops to 9.6 percent

Idaho’s unemployment rate fell to 9.6 percent in April, the first retreat in more than four years, the Department of Labor said Friday.

Employment increased by more than 3,000 to 692,167, the fourth consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Manufacturers and construction contractors were among the employers adding workers.

Like the state, Kootenai County reported a 0.1 percent jobless rate decrease, to 11.1 percent, but total employment fell by 321, to 64,567, compared with March. The work force also decreased.

The rate for the city of Coeur d’Alene rose to 11 percent from 9.7 percent because employment slipped 128 to 20,644.

The rates in other North Idaho counties were: Benewah, 13.5 percent, down from 14.1 percent in March; Bonner, 12.6 percent, down from 13 percent; Boundary, 14.2 percent, down from 14.3 percent; and Shoshone, 14.5 percent, down from 14.7 percent.

The national rate in April was 9 percent.

Bert Caldwell

Skagit County bank closed by regulators

Summit Bank has become the first Washington bank to fail this year, despite its directors having invested more than $1.5 million a year ago to save it.

Late Friday, state regulators shut down the small, three-branch Skagit County bank, one of the oldest state-chartered commercial banks in Washington. Tacoma-based Columbia State Bank assumed all the deposits under an agreement with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., leaving about $2 million in brokered deposits and all of Summit’s assets.

As of March 31, Summit had $142.7 million in total assets and $131.6 million in total deposits. All three of Summit Bank’s branches will reopen Monday as branches of Columbia Bank, regulators said.

“Summit Bank has suffered significant losses associated with real estate lending,” said Gloria McVey, acting director of DFI’s Division of Banks, in a statement. “Like many institutions, Summit Bank has experienced large losses associated with construction and land development loans.”

Seattle Times

Rising gas prices taking toll on U.S. drivers

WASHINGTON – With gasoline still close to $4 a gallon across the country, drivers have made some tough choices: scaling back vacations, driving less or ditching the car altogether. A new Associated Press-GfK poll shows the impact of sustained high prices is spreading among seniors and higher-income Americans.

According to the poll, the share of all Americans who say increases in the price of gasoline will cause serious financial hardship for them or their families in the next six months now tops 4 in 10.

Overall, 71 percent said rising prices will cause some hardship for them and their families; 41 percent call it a “serious” hardship. Just 29 percent said rising gas prices are not negatively impacting their finances.

Associated Press