May 18, 2013 in Business

In brief: Unemployment rate stays level in Idaho

From Staff And Wire Reports
 

Idaho’s unemployment rate held at 6.1 percent in April and ticked down to 7.2 percent in Kootenai County, the Idaho Department of Labor said.

Employers maintained hiring at normal levels, but 1,300 people left the state labor force, driving both employment and unemployment down, officials said.

New hires in April surpassed 16,000 statewide, with more than a third of those for new jobs. 

The jobless rate dropped throughout North Idaho in April and stood at 10.5 percent in Shoshone County, 8.3 percent in Bonner County, 7.9 percent in Boundary County and 10.4 percent in Benewah County.

GM stock price reaches two-year peak, tops $33

DETROIT – Shares of General Motors reached an important milestone on Friday, closing above their initial public offering price of $33 for the first time in more than two years.

GM shares reached $33.77 Friday before slipping back to close at $33.42, up 3.2 percent. The auto giant sold shares to the public for $33 in a November 2010 IPO, but they’ve traded below that price since May 4, 2011.

GM’s business is getting stronger. Two weeks ago, GM reported solid first-quarter earnings on robust sales in North America. On Friday, there were signs sales declines may have bottomed in Europe, where GM has lost money for more than a dozen years.

Shares of all automakers traded in the U.S. show double-digit gains this year. GM and Ford are benefiting from strong sales in the U.S. as well as China. And investors believe the Japanese government’s economic policies create an advantage for exporters such as Toyota and Honda.

Economic optimism helps boost oil prices

NEW YORK – The price of oil rose to $96 a barrel Friday on hopes that a steady recovery in the U.S. economy could boost fuel use.

Benchmark oil for June delivery rose 86 cents to close at $96.02 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. But even with three straight days of gains, oil finished the week down 2 cents.

A gauge of future economic activity in the U.S. rose more than analysts expected, as did a measure of consumer confidence, adding to evidence that the economy is steadily recovering. Traders hope that’s a sign of increased demand for fuels like gasoline.

At the pump, gas prices rose 2 cents to an average of $3.62 a gallon. But that average is skewed by ballooning gas prices in the Midwest. Refinery outages in the region have created fuel shortages. The average price in Minnesota and North Dakota jumped 15 cents overnight.

Bank of Montreal agrees to increase oversight

WASHINGTON – Federal regulators are ordering the Bank of Montreal to take steps to correct lapses in oversight that could allow the bank to be used for money laundering.

The Federal Reserve announced an agreement Friday with the bank, Canada’s fourth-largest by assets. The Fed cited procedural deficiencies to prevent money laundering in the bank and its Chicago branch.

No financial penalty was imposed on the bank under the agreement. The bank agreed to submit detailed plans to the Fed and to Illinois banking regulators for strengthening its programs and correcting problems.

The remedial actions “are well under way,” Bank of Montreal spokesman Paul Deegan said in a statement. The bank is “fully committed to the highest standards of regulatory compliance” with anti-money laundering rules in all of the jurisdictions in which it operates, Deegan said.

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