Business

In brief: Idaho jobs, Coeur d’Alene economy, Post Falls economy

Idaho employers added more than 12,000 jobs during December, helping push the state’s jobless rate to 6.6 percent, the lowest in nearly four years.

Idaho’s unemployment rate was 6.8 percent in November and 8.3 percent in December 2011.

Using yearlong 2012 employment averages, Kootenai County finished with a jobless rate of 8.7 percent, down from 10.3 percent for 2011. The 2012 number is preliminary.

The average annual unemployment rate for the Coeur d’Alene metropolitan statistical area was 8.7 percent last year, versus 10.3 percent in 2011.

Idaho statewide finished with 777,200 jobs in the civilian labor force, up from 770,600 in 2011, according to Idaho’s Department of Labor.

A news release noted Idaho has regained only 18 percent of the 50,000 jobs lost to the recession, and it is likely the rest will not be regained until 2015. 

Staff report

Tax preparers spared new IRS regulations

FALLS CHURCH, Va. – A federal judge on Friday barred the IRS from imposing a series of new regulations, including a competency exam, on hundreds of thousands of tax preparers.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in Washington ruled against the IRS in favor of three tax preparers who filed suit last year with the help of a libertarian legal group, the Arlington, Va.-based Institute for Justice.

Since 2011, in response to what it says has been a growing problem of poorly done returns, the IRS has sought to impose new regulations on preparers, including passing a qualifying exam, paying an annual application fee, and taking 15 hours annually of continuing-education courses.

Attorneys and certified public accountants would have been exempt.

The Institute for Justice argued that the IRS lacked the statutory authority to impose the regulations and said they would put tens of thousands of mom-and-pop tax preparers out of business because the regulations were onerous and created a competitive disadvantage.

The judge’s order includes an injunction that bars implementation of the regulations. The competency exam was to have taken effect in 2014.

Associated Press

Hooters is 30, and plans to freshen up

Hooters of America is turning 30 this year – high time for a makeover, the company said.

Hooters is remodeling one of its stores in Houston with hopes that the design will serve as a prototype for future locations.

The Atlanta-based company is notorious for using bosomy young women in tank tops and skin-tight orange shorts as servers.

The new look involves “sleek and contemporary finishes” such as a high ceiling, painted ductwork, bright cypress wood walls and light-colored brick, the company said. There will also be new booth seating and high-back chairs “with an enhanced seat size and added padding.”

The hope, according to Hooters Chief Marketing Officer Dave Henniger, is that customers view the revamped store as “the ideal environment to kick back and relax after work, get together to watch their favorite sports team and enjoy a delicious meal with their family.”

Los Angeles Times



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