Red Lion sells Missoula hotel
Spokane-based Red Lion Hotels Corp. has sold the Red Lion Inn Missoula for $1.95 million to RASM Properties, LLC.
The new owner changed the name to Red Lion Inn & Suites and agreed to convert the hotel into a Red Lion franchise.
Red Lion is selling properties and converting to franchises as a way to cut costs. The Missoula hotel had been for sale since November 2011.
It has 76 rooms with exterior entries and is near Missoula’s main hospital and the University of Montana.
Red Lion also has a company-owned hotel in Kalispell and a franchise hotel in Helena.
Jobless claims up slightly
WASHINGTON – The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits jumped 20,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 362,000, though it remains at a level that suggests slow but steady improvement in the job market.
The Labor Department said Thursday that the four-week average, a less volatile measure, rose 8,000 to 360,750, the highest in six weeks.
Applications for unemployment benefits are a proxy for layoffs. Even with last week’s jump, they have trended downward recently. The four-week average has declined 7.5 percent since mid-November and fell to a five-year low three weeks ago.
Employers added an average of 200,000 jobs a month from November through January. That was up from about 150,000 in the previous three months. Last week’s increase puts applications for unemployment benefits back in the 360,000-to-390,000 range, where they have fluctuated since early last year. Since then, employers have added an average of 181,000 jobs a month.
A total of 5.6 million people received unemployment benefits in the week that ended Feb. 2, the latest period for which figures are available. That’s about 300,000 fewer than in the previous week. Some of those no longer receiving unemployment aid may now be employed. But many others have exhausted the benefits available to them.
United drops 787 until June
United Airlines cut the grounded Boeing 787 from its flying plans at least until June and postponed its new Denver-to-Tokyo flights on Thursday, as airlines continued to tear up their schedules while the plane is out of service.
Investigators are still trying to figure out what caused a battery fire in one plane and forced the emergency landing of another plane last month. The world’s 50 787s have been grounded since Jan. 16.
United spokeswoman Christen David said the plane could still fly earlier than June 5 if a fix is found. At that point it would be used as needed around United’s system, she said.
United was due to begin flying from Denver to Tokyo’s Narita airport on March 31. It’s postponing the start of those flights at least until May 12, or longer if the 787 isn’t cleared to fly. That would be almost a year after United began selling tickets for the flight.
U.S. wine exports grow
SAN FRANCISCO – New figures show U.S. wine exports grew for the third consecutive year in 2012, setting a record of $1.43 billion in revenue, the San Francisco-based Wine Institute said Thursday.
Ninety percent of those exports were from California. Volume shipments reached 424.6 million liters, or 112.2 million cases.
The European Union remained the top market for California wines, accounting for about 34 percent of all sales. The state’s wineries also saw significant growth in Canada and Asia.
Sales in China reached $74 million in 2012, up 18 percent from the previous year. South Korea, at $16 million, was up 26 percent.