Arrow-right Camera


Washington jobless rate falls to 8.3 percent

Washington’s unemployment rate dropped to 8.3 percent in January as 13,200 jobs were created.

The improved jobless numbers were led by stronger hiring in professional and business services, retail trade, and education and health sectors.

Government jobs fell, along with mining and logging.

The January jobless rate – 8.3 percent – is down from December’s revised unemployment rate of 8.6 percent, according to the state’s Employment Security Department.

Since the depth of the recession, the state has regained about 98,000 jobs.

Gov. Chris Gregoire said in a news release Wednesday that an economic recovery is under way.

There were 291,400 people seeking employment in January.

About 74,616 workers in Washington had exhausted their unemployment benefits as of Feb. 25.

John Stucke

Deal reached between ER doctors, Premera

An insurance reimbursement showdown pitting emergency room doctors at Providence Holy Family Hospital against Premera Blue Cross has been resolved.

The sides announced a deal that will bring the independent doctors, who operate as Emergency Physician Services PS, back into Premera’s network, saving patients with that insurance unexpected out-of-pocket medical bills if they end up in the Holy Family ER.

The agreement announced Wednesday is effective today, ending an impasse that began last year and left many Premera patients bewildered when they sought emergency treatment at Holy Family and later received separate doctors’ bills.

Holy Family serves much of North Spokane and had until last year been the busiest ER in the region.

Premera is among the largest health insurers in Eastern Washington.

John Stucke

Apple’s market value passes $500 billion

LOS ANGELES – Apple Inc., the world’s most valuable company, is now worth $500 billion – and counting.

The company’s market value passed the rarefied half-trillion-dollar mark in trading Wednesday, joining just a handful of firms to have reached those heights, though none managed to stay there.

For much of last year, Apple was running neck and neck with Exxon Mobil Corp. for the title of most valuable firm. But over the last month Apple has catapulted nearly $100 billion past Exxon, which is now worth more than $400 billion. Market value is a measure of the total combined value of all of its outstanding shares of stock.

Apple’s stock jumped $7.03, or 1.3 percent, to $542.44 on Wednesday, putting the Cupertino, Calif., company’s value at $506 billion when regular trading ended.

Los Angeles Times