Business

Idaho unemployment down to five-year low

Idaho’s jobless rate dropped to 5.4 percent in January, the lowest in five years, Idaho Department of Labor officials announced Friday. That’s two-tenths of a percent lower than in December.

It’s also 1.3 percent lower than Idaho’s jobless rate in January 2013.

Kootenai County’s January and February unemployment rates will be released Friday. Kootenai County’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate in December was 6.6 percent.

Idaho’s January number was the fifth drop in a row and the lowest jobless rate since September 2008.

The U.S. jobless rate in January was 6.6 percent, according to officials with the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Idaho’s total nonfarm jobs rose to 734,500, up 2,100 from the previous record set in December and about 12,000 more than in January 2013.

The number of workers getting unemployment benefits fell 24 percent in January to just over 14,000.

Total Idaho jobless benefit payments in January were $19.5 million, just $100,000 lower than January 2013. The small drop results from an average increase of $15 per week in benefits payments, up to an average $268.

Quiznos files for bankruptcy protection

LOS ANGELES – Quiznos, the Denver-based sandwich chain, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Delaware.

The filing is expected to be speedy, as Quiznos senior leadership had already secured a “pre-packaged” restructuring plan with its creditors, the company said in a statement. The move will cut the company’s debt by more than $400 million.

Fed’s bond buying earned $90 billion

WASHINGTON – The Federal Reserve’s controversial bond-buying program, designed to stimulate the U.S. economy, generated interest income of $90 billion in 2013, an audit of the central bank confirmed Friday.

The Fed released an annual audit of its financial operations for 2013, conducted by the giant accounting firm Deloitte & Touche LLP. The documents show that the massive purchases of government and mortgage bonds generated almost $10 billion more than the prior year.

Senior Fed officials said that after subtracting out operating expenses of $6.1 billion and almost $5 billion on interest expenses paid on deposits held at Fed banks, the Fed remitted to the Treasury just under $80 billion.

Starbucks, Keurig amend K-cup sales deal

SEATTLE – Starbucks Corp. agreed to give up its role as the exclusive purveyor of “super premium” coffee for the Keurig K-cup brewing system, as Keurig Green Mountain Inc. devises new strategies to fend off new competitors in the burgeoning market for single-serve coffee pods.

The companies announced Friday that their licensing deal was amended in exchange for “improved business terms” for Starbucks and the chance to market more pods.

Keurig saw important intellectual property licenses protecting the K-cup expire in 2012. Since then, rival coffee producers have been manufacturing pods compatible with the best-selling brewing system.

<h3>Amazon.com plans fourth orders center

TACOMA – Amazon.com was barely finished building its third Washington fulfillment center when it announced Friday it will be opening a fourth center, in Kent.

The 1-million-square-foot building is expected to create hundreds of new jobs. Seattle-based Amazon already has fulfillment centers in Bellevue and Sumner. It is hiring to staff a recently built center in DuPont.



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