Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Generating more jobs in Idaho might get a little easier now that the Legislature passed House Bill 100, and the governor signed it into law last week. “It is designed to create jobs, and we do need more jobs in Idaho,” said Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, who sponsored the legislation. “This helps us be a little more competitive with our neighboring states when we are recruiting jobs.” But not everyone agrees that the state should be spending $3 million, which was appropriated to the fund, on job creation. Rep. Kathy Sims, R-Coeur d'Alene, voted against the bill along with Rep. Ron Mendive, R-Post Falls, and Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Post Falls. She said she has little faith in government creating good jobs. “We don't have an extra $3 million in this budget,” Sims said. “This makes absolutely no sense whatsoever”/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
DFO: Notice the byline on that Coeur d'Alene Press story?
Question: Do you think government has a role to play in job creation?
Here’s a news item from the AP and the Idaho Statesman: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Micron Technology Inc. is scaling back on its plans to develop energy-efficient lighting technology it launched in 2009, leading to the layoff of at least 30 workers. Micron spokesman Dan Francisco confirmed the decision Wednesday in a story published by the Idaho Statesman (http://bit.ly/Z19bCH). The Boise-based computer chip maker started the LED light technology program in 2009 with the help of $5 million in federal economic stimulus cash. The division had 170 employees, and after the job layoffs 30 workers will remain with the program while another 110 have already taken other jobs with Micron. Francisco says increased competition in the LED market, a changing world economy and decision to focus on computer memory led Micron executives to narrow the focus on the development of LED technology. Click below for a full report.
The unemployment rate in Idaho fell to 7.1 percent in September, the lowest rate since May 2009 and down from 7.4 percent in August.
But the state also has seen its labor force shrink four straight months, including the first August-September decline since the 1986 recession, the Idaho Department of Labor said Friday.
Employers in Idaho expanded payrolls last month at a higher rate than in the past five years, and at a slightly faster pace than during the expansion of 2003-07, the state reported.
Another 1,200 workers were on the job in September, pushing total employment to 720,600 – its highest level in four years – and breaking a two-month employment slide.
The jobless rate last month fell to 9 percent in Kootenai County; it was 11.5 percent a year ago. The rate hit 8.1 percent in Coeur d’Alene last month, down from 10.7 percent in September 2011.
Elsewhere in North Idaho, the September rate was 12.4 percent in Benewah County, 10.3 percent in Bonner County, 10.2 percent in Boundary County, and 12.1 percent in Shoshone County.
The unemployment rate fell in August across North Idaho and statewide, due in part to fewer people seeking jobs.
The Idaho rate fell to 7.4 percent, down slightly from July. In Kootenai County, the August jobless rate was 9 percent, down from 9.3 percent the month before.
The rate was lower in Bonner, Boundary, Benewah and Shoshone counties as well.
The loss of 2,600 workers from the state’s labor force – the first July-to-August decline since 1980 – offset an increase in hiring by employers at a rate just above their recession-era average, said Bob Fick, spokesman for the Idaho Department of Labor.
The August jobless rate statewide was the lowest in more than three years, but it also was the third straight month Idaho’s labor force has contracted, Fick explained.
The loss of more than 5,500 from the workforce through the summer was the largest three-month exodus of workers on record in the state and has left the labor force at its lowest level since January.
Still, there were 17,000 more people working in Idaho in August than a year earlier, and 11,000 fewer unemployed. In the past 13 months, the jobless rate has dropped a point and a half from a recession high of 8.9 percent.
Employers may be picking up their hiring, Fick said. Businesses report hiring 18,400 workers in August, mostly to replace workers who retired, were fired, found other jobs or left for some other reason. That rate of hiring matches the average August new hires during the economic expansion from 2003 through 2007, he said.
Idaho Department of Commerce Director Jeff Sayer is crowing about company expansions and recruitments that are running far ahead of expectations, just a month into the state's new fiscal year. “We have probably 10 projects, all in different regions of the state, that will bring anywhere from 50 to 200 jobs per project,” Sayer told Eye on Boise today. “The best part is that they're a combination of companies that are expanding and new companies coming into the state. So if that pace keeps up, this year should be a really exciting year for us.”
Details are scarce at this point, but Sayer is promising more later; the jobs in question will be added within the next four to 18 months. “We're finally seeing the culmination of several months of momentum that's been building across the state, and now it's finally coming to the surface where what we were hearing is actually turning into actual jobs,” Sayer said. “We're seeing growth in sectors that people aren't even aware exist in Idaho, like the aerospace sector near Spokane. We're seeing a lot of manufacturing. We're seeing a lot of strength in some of our existing industries that are finally starting to expand and grow.”
The current upswell is unexpected, Sayer noted. “This is probably six to nine months ahead of what I would have predicted. So it's fun. And we're seeing even more conversations that are starting to fill our pipelines, so it's not like once we get done with these we're done - there are several more coming.”
Boeing workers in Washington hope the company will decide to build carbon-fiber composite wings for a bigger 777 in the state.
Mark Blondin of the International Association of Machinists union says a new wing plant would be a giant win for the state.
The Seattle Times reports a manufacturing plan for the 777X is expected to go to the Boeing board by the end of the year. The plane would likely be assembled at the Everett plant where current 777s are put together. A new wing plant would add hundreds of jobs.
The only sizable composite pieces built in Washington now are the 787 tail fin and the 777 tail, which are made at Boeing’s Frederickson plant near Tacoma.
More than 40 summer jobs for low-income, tech-savvy teens around the state are open at their local libraries, which are looking for teens for new grant-funded summer positions as “digital literary coaches” - teachers of basic computer skills to library patrons; the participating libraries each have one or two positions. “The unemployment rate for Idaho teenagers last year was over 20 percent,” library commission spokeswoman Teresa Lipus said. “These jobs offer a helping hand to young people, especially those from low-income homes, while at the same time help Idahoans from all walks of life navigate the computer world.”
The jobs, which pay minimum wage, are for those age 16-21; more than 70 percent of Idaho's libraries are the only free source of Internet access in their communities. Click below for more info in the full announcement from the Commission for Libraries and the Idaho Department of Labor.
Washington gained an estimated 4,200 jobs in February, adding to the state’s gradual climb up the employment ladder, the state’s Employment Security Department said today.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dipped to an estimated 8.2 percent in February, down from a revised rate of 8.4 percent in January. It was the lowest unemployment rate since January 2009, when it was 7.7 percent.
As a result of the improved unemployment rate, the maximum weeks of unemployment benefits in Washington will likely be reduced from 99 down to 73 in mid- to late April. Both of the federal benefits-extension programs are triggered by states’ unemployment rates. Employment Security will announce the timing and more details of the change after receiving official notice from the federal Department of Labor.
Temporary or seasonal work can provide a bridge for individuals looking for employment while between jobs, recent college graduations, or people interested in a new challenge.
Seasonal jobs offer opportunities in a wide variety of fields. If you’d like to explore seasonal work possibilities, check out some of these websites, compiled by McClatchy-Tribune News Service:
AfterCollege.com: Caters to college students and recent graduates looking for seasonal work opportunities.
CoolWorks.com: Search for seasonal job in 25 categories under “Find a Job” tab.
SeasonalEmployment.com: Explore different seasonal and temporary job categories by country or state.
SeasonalJobs365: Check out jobs by activity and country.
SeasonWorkers.com: Check out employment opportunities under category tabs or by company or location.
The average total compensation per job in Spokane County rose 2.3 percent in 2010, the U.S. Department of Commerce said today.
Total compensation – wages and salaries plus employer contributions for pension and insurance funds – averaged $50,336 in 2010, up from $49,227 in 2009, according to the agency’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.
In Kootenai County, total compensation rose to $41,947, from $40,710 in 2009 – an increase of 3 percent.
In the Seattle area, average compensation in King County rose 3.3 percent to $75,114. In the Boise area, Ada County's average compensation rose 3.1 percent to $52,105.
Compensation increased in 2,480 counties and declined in 633 counties in the U.S. last year, as the average annual compensation per job increased 2.7 percent to $58,451.
OLYMPIA — Private-sector job growth has pushed Washington’s unemployment rate to the lowest point since February 2009, officials said today.
The Employment Security Department said the drop to 8.7 percent unemployment in November came with the state adding 12,100 jobs. The jobless rate was down from 9.1 percent in October.
“This is the kind of job growth we need to make a good dent in the unemployment rate,” said Greg Weeks, director of the Employment Security Department’s labor-market information office, in a statement.
The state has added jobs in 13 of the past 14 months, but it has usually come in smaller chunks.
The November numbers show growth across much of the private sector. The professional and business services sector added 4,200 jobs. Leisure and hospitality grew by 3,800. Construction was up 2,000 jobs.
Government posted a slight decline in jobs.
More than 300,000 people in Washington were unemployed and looking for work in October, according to the Employment Security Department. As of Saturday, some 68,000 workers had exhausted their unemployment benefits.
Washington’s numbers followed the national trend for November. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped from 9 percent to 8.6 percent.
Seasonal hiring of educators and retail workers helped push Spokane County’s unemployment rate down last month. It fell to 8.3 percent in October, down from September’s revised rate of 8.4 percent.
It’s the lowest rate so far this year but remains high than in October 2010, when unemployment was 8.1 percent. There were about 5,000 more jobs here one year ago, said Doug Tweedy, regional economist for the state Employment Security Department.
October typically has the highest employment rate of the year as schools bring on teachers and staff, and as stores get ready for the holiday shopping season. The local economy supports about 25,000 retail jobs, which is up 280 jobs over last October.
But the public sector continues to be a drag on the economy due to federal, state and local government layoffs – a trend that will persist into 2012, Tweedy said.
“We’re still making up for lost jobs over the year,” he said.
Private employers, however, have added about 800 jobs this year in Spokane County. The bulk of those have been in the manufacturing and health care sectors.
Another positive sign is that initial claims for unemployment benefits are down to 2007 levels, which tweedy said can be a leading indicator of job growth.
Statewide, unemployment in October was at 8.3 percent, down from 8.8 percent in October 2010.
Walmart plans to hire about 170 people to work at a new store opening this fall in Moscow. The retailer has opened a temporary hiring center at 672 W. Pullman Road in Moscow.
The hiring center will take applications 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Applicants also can apply online at http://walmartstores.com/Careers.
Walmart will hire full- and part-time associates in all areas of the new store, including supervisory positions, store manager Helena Probasco said.
Most new hires will begin in December to help prepare for the store's opening in January.
OLYMPIA — Washington’s jobless rate has dropped to 9 percent — the lowest since March 2009, according to figures released today by the state Employment Security Department.
The October rate compares with a revised figure of 9.2 percent for September and 9.4 percent in October of last year in the state, the Associated Press reported. The national jobless rate also is 9 percent.
With 4,600 jobs added in October in Washington, the department says the state has added jobs in 12 of the last 13 months.
A loss of 18,000 jobs reported in September was revised to a loss of 10,700 jobs.
“The October numbers showing slow, steady improvement are more consistent with what we’ve seen for more than a year,” said Dave Wallace, a department economist. “It looks more likely that the September numbers were an anomaly.”
Jobs were added in October in government, wholesale trade, education and health services and manufacturing. Jobs were lost in professional and business services, transportation, warehousing and utilities, and retail trade.
Do you have a strong sense of duty, honor and service?
Are you physically fit and educated? Looking for a career?
It's not the Army or Marines asking this time. It's the Washington State Patrol, which is recruiting for trooper positions.
Candidates are invited to fill out an application and join the WSP at its next physical fitness and written test, Nov. 5, 7:30 a.m., at the Washington State Patrol Academy, 631 W Dayton Airport Rd, Shelton, Wash.
To obtain an application for a testing date, or for more information about the process, go here.
Or contact Trooper Tina Wallman, Eastern Washington recruiter, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SEATTLE — Boeing employment in Washington has exceeded 80,000 workers for the first time in nearly a dozen years, The Associated Press reports.
The company reports it had 80,666 workers in the state at the end of September. That’s the most since December 1999 when it had 80,900.
The News Tribune reports Boeing has added more than 7,000 employees to its Washington workforce since last December as it upped production of the 737 in Renton and pushed the 787 and 747-8 to delivery at the widebody factory in Everett.
Boeing’s all-time high employment in Washington was 104,000 in June 1998.
Whitworth University alumnus Packard Scott Brown will talk about job-search tactics during a presentation this evening at Weyerhaeuser Hall on the Whitworth campus.
About 2,500 people turned in applications this week to work at the new Spokane Trader Joe's store, said company spokeswoman Alison Mochizuki.
A new photo of applicants filling out forms outside the building will appear in Saturday's edition of The Spokesman-Review and Spokesman.com.
Mochizuki said not all the Spokane store jobs have been filled, and more applications will be accepted next week. The location is the Spokane Lincoln Heights Shopping Center.
OLYMPIA, Wash. — Washington officials are preparing to release details on the state’s employment situation in August.
The information from the Employment Security Department on Wednesday comes after recent months showed conflicting signals about the economy. The number of jobs has grown for 11 consecutive months but the unemployment rate has grown from 8.8 percent in March to 9.3 percent in July.
The unemployment rate had fallen through much of 2010 after hitting a peak of 10 percent at the beginning of last year.
State economic forecasters have lowered their growth projections for the rest of this year. Lawmakers are now closely watching economic indicators, especially a new revenue forecast due to be released Thursday.
Two new polls today find that just one third of the public feels President Obama deserves re-election while five times more Americans think Obama has done a worse job fixing the economy than Jimmy Carter, the modern era's Herbert Hoover. Washington Whispers contributor John Zogby tells us that his new polling is spirit-crushing for the depressed White House. “It was a very bad week for Barack Obama. Our polling shows his job approval at 39 percent and the percentage saying he deserves re-election at 33 percent, both the lowest of his term, while the percentage of voters saying the nation is on the wrong track reached a high since he took office at 75 percent,” he said/Paul Bedard, U.S. News & World Reports, Washington Whispers. More here. (AP file photo: of Barack Obama)
Question: What can President Obama, who plans a major speech on jobs and the economy tonight, do to turn the economy around before it's too late for his presidency?
Ever have a job for which you were supremely ill-suited?
“In '59, I was drafted, and the Army sent me to a 16-piece post band 30 miles northeast of Barstow, Calif.,” wrote Bob Briggs. “The band wanted to play baseball in the base league, and there were just enough players because two of us had never played and knew almost nothing about it.
“However, the league also required each team to supply two non-members to umpire other games. So the two of us had to officiate a tank battalion game.
“That evening while I was calling balls and strikes by guessing, the men started looking at me with bewilderment. I finally had to explain that I knew nothing about baseball and that my C.O. had ordered us to do it.
“Fortunately, the men's attitude changed, and they agreed to play the rest of the game just for the fun of it.
“Later in the game, I had to call a home plate slide-in and tag. The dust cloud was so thick that when I finally called it, several members of both teams were rolling on the ground laughing.
“I was so thankful that those tank guys were so understanding. The next day, the league said that the band could play without sending umpires.”
Spokane County's unemployment rate ticked up a notch in July, to 9 percent. The jobless rate in June was 8.9 percent, and in July 2010 it was 9.1 percent.
There were 20,250 unemployed workers in the county last month, according to the Washington Employment Security Department. That's down slightly from 20,840 unemployed workers in June.
The jobless rate last month hit 11 percent in Stevens County, 11.6 percent in Pend Oreille County, and nearly 13 percent in Ferry County.
Elsewhere in the region, the July rate was 7.5 percent in Whitman County, 7.6 percent in Adams County and 7.9 percent in Lincoln County.
WASHINGTON – As he sets out on a three-day bus tour of the Midwest focused on the economy, President Barack Obama is coming under growing pressure from fellow Democrats to put forward a more aggressive strategy to create jobs than the one he has been touting for months.
Obama has offered a jobs package crafted to win Republican support in a divided Congress. But he faces two distinct problems: Republicans say they won’t vote for several pieces of the plan. And Democrats contend the program, even if enacted in full, would fall short of what’s needed to boost job growth or revive Obama’s political prospects.
White House advisers said the president’s economic team is working on a new approach to jump-starting the sluggish economy.
Sunday, Gallup reported Obama’s overall approval rating had fallen to 39 percent in its daily tracking, the worst in his presidency.
Any advice you'd like to offer the president?
A recent survey of Washington workers who failed to find work before running out of unemployment benefits revealed that three out of four of them remain jobless.
The survey also shows that 80 percent of those back at work earn less than in their former jobs – on average, about 29 percent less.
Of those who returned to work, about 19 percent found jobs out of state.
The state’s Employment Security Department emailed a survey in April to nearly 32,000 individuals who had run out of unemployment benefits since November 2009, and 5,065 people responded. The claimants had access to as many as 99 weeks of unemployment benefits.
Employment Security sought to find out if exhaustees have returned to work, the employment services they’re using and the barriers they’re running into while looking for new jobs.
Employment Security Commissioner Paul Trause said the survey findings shed valuable insight on what is happening to workers who run out of unemployment benefits.
“The survey contradicts the perception that unemployed workers wait until their benefits run out, then quickly find work,” Trause said. “We know there aren’t enough jobs to go around right now, but there may be additional factors that keep employers from hiring these workers.”
BOISE — The Idaho Department of Labor says the statewide unemployment held steady at 9.4 percent in June.
The agency released the latest jobless numbers today, saying the Idaho labor pool shrunk for the first time in 10 months as fewer jobs were created and more than 1,800 unemployed workers either gave up their search or left the state in June.
Idaho’s jobless rate fell to 9.4 percent in May, down from 9.6 percent in April.
The labor department says more than 30,000 unemployed workers collected $28.8 million in benefits last month, which is down compared to a year ago when more than 38,000 workers received $41.7 million in June 2010.
The state reports more than 10,600 unemployed workers have exhausted their benefits and are still without work.
The number of people applying for unemployment benefits fell last week to the lowest level in seven weeks, although applications remain elevated, the Associated Press reports.
The Labor Department said today that applications for benefits dropped by 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 418,000. The four-week average, a less volatile measure, declined for the first time in four weeks, to 424,750.
Applications have topped 400,000 for 13 weeks, evidence the job market has weakened since the beginning of the year. Applications had fallen in February to 375,000, a level that signals sustainable job growth. They stayed below 400,000 for seven of the next nine weeks. But then applications surged to an eight-month high of 478,000 in April and have shown only modest improvement since.
The government will release its June employment report Friday. Economists expect employers added a net total of 90,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate remained stuck at 9.1 percent, according to a survey by FactSet.
President Barack Obama answered questions about jobs, the economy, taxes, welfare and space programs in the first Twitter Town Hall meeting.
But nothing about marijuana, which was among the most “retweeted” topics before the session started.
The session allowed people around the country to send questions to Obama at the White House with a Twitter moderator. He acknowledged that he underestimated the recession and talked about the debt ceiling talks taking place this week.
For a complete transcript of the 90 minute session, courtesy of the White House Press Office, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.
Good morning, Netizens…
Scared of the current economy? This morning's David Horsey cartoon speaks volumes about one of the key components of the current employment situation in our country.
There is hardly a day that goes by but what I remember the number of former manufacturing plants that once were the mainstay of our economy back in the days when our national economy was more robust. Those plants simply put are not there any more; most either closed their doors, victims of poor management or the economy, while the majority simply moved their manufacturing plants to some foreign country where they didn't have our fixed costs, including our middle-class wages. Why pay $10 an hour when $3.00 will do in Mexico?
Everyone acts as if those jobs are coming back really soon now, but I don't think so. The voters of this country have not spoken up yet, demanding that this policy be deemed unacceptable. If the mega-corporations want our tax breaks, they need to be responsive to our population rather than those of other countries.
The grim reality is a select few at the top will make more money than ever, a big majority will be working harder for less pay, and a significant minority will be underemployed or permanently out of luck. That grim economic outlook, as stated by this cartoon, appears to be straight-up and truthful. It does give everyone cause to be scared, and be damned what the opportunistic politicians are saying about our “recovery”.
Of course, your results may differ.
Washington added an estimated 2,100 jobs in December, with the manufacturing and retail sectors leading hiring. Still, the estimated unemployment rate increased slightly from 9.2 percent to 9.3 percent, the state reported this morning.
Job numbers and the unemployment rate are derived from separate surveys. Due to margins of error, the surveys sometimes generate conflicting results.
In Spokane County, the unemployment rate was 9.1 percent in December. That's up from a rate of 8.6 percent in November, and down slightly from 9.3 percent a year ago. Unemployed workers in the county totaled 21,990 last month, up from 21,030 a month earlier, the state said.
The Idaho Department of Labor says the state’s December unemployment rate was higher than the national average for the first time in nearly a decade.
Idaho’s projected seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December rose for the fifth straight month to 9.5 percent, leaving 71,900 workers without jobs.
Nationally, the unemployment rate dropped 0.4 points to 9.4 percent for December.
Based on current data, Idaho’s average unemployment rate for 2010 was a record 9.2 percent, breaking the previous record of 9 percent set in 1982.