Everything tagged

Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Jobless rate in Washington drops to 7 percent, down slightly from month before

The state AP office provided Wednesday's update on April's Washington state jobless rates.

Washington state’s unemployment rate dropped to 7 percent in April, and the state added an estimated 3,800 jobs last month, according to data from the state Employment Security Department.

The March jobless rate for the state was 7.3 percent.

The state has now regained about 78 percent of the more than 200,000 jobs lost during the recession, according to ESD numbers.

The state “labor market is continuing to improve at a moderate but accelerating rate, somewhat faster than the nation,” Scott Bailey, a labor economist for Employment Security, said in a written statement.

The national unemployment rate for April was 7.5 percent.

Spokane County and other individual county unemployment rates will be reported next week.

Since April 2012, when Washington state’s unemployment rate was 8.4 percent, the state has gained a total of 67,200 jobs.

The latest figures show that economists significantly revised job loss numbers for March from an initial estimate of 5,500 down to 1,600 jobs.

Industries that saw the greatest job gains in April included retail trade, up 3,800 jobs; leisure and hospitality, up 1,600 jobs; and professional and business services, which gained 1,500 jobs.

Job losses were seen in education and health services, which lost 2,500 jobs; construction, down 1,100; and transportation, warehousing and utilities, which lost 500 jobs. Wholesale trade saw a decrease of 300 jobs.

Did Spokane lose 500 higher ed jobs during March? Well, we intend to find out

For not the first time, the state unemployment report for Spokane left us dealing with mysteries.

The story, appearing Wednesday, reported March's county unemployment rate went down from 9.8 percent to 9.1 percent.

But, using different data from a different survey, the state also said Spokane lost 1,100 jobs. That will happen sometimes, when the two data sets move in different directions.

But the second bigger mystery involves a question about 500 positions lost in Spokane during March among the three higher ed institutions, WSU, EWU and the Community Colleges of Spokane.

We sent off a note to the WSU Spokane folks, asking if they were part of the 500 job decline.

We did get an answer, thanks to solid efforts by former newsman Doug Nadvornick.

Doug tracked down the numbers and came up with the basic response, that the state's tracking system found that WSU had lost eight “covered” positions and 23 “non-covered” positions. Essentially, around 31 jobs were eliminated or lost at WSU.

About a handful of those would have been from the transfer of the Interdisciplinary Design Program moving from Spokane to Pullman.

Which leaves the implication that the other 470 lost positions have to be from CCS and from EWU.

And that's going to be another story. Stay tuned. We'll see how this turns out.

Employment Security Department Regional Labor Economist Doug Tweedy said in the story that these numbers are preliminary, and that revised additional data in the next four weeks should clarify the picture.

We hope so, and we'll report what we get.

Jensen Byrd building not likely to be demolished until next year

When we last left the Jensen-Byrd saga, the historical preservationists were forming a posse, trying to figure out a way to hijack the former downtown Spokane warehouse and hide it somewhere on the Palouse, to keep it from being torn down.

The Texas-based company that wants to tear it down, Campus Advantage, was trying to obtain the needed certificates to move forward with a slow-motion, brick-by-brick demolition. They intend to replace the JB with a modern student housing structure designed for the 21st century.

And how will it play out? 

It appears it's going nowhere for now. A recent WSU Spokane Bulletin says the building (not yet deemed a historic building) is on life support for about a year. Barb Chamberlain, who works for WSU, is the author of the bulletin item saying the sale won't close until 2013, citing the WSU Real Estate Office.

Chamberlain said the original deal is being held up because of extended timelines to obtain permits. 

If all the permits come together and Campus Advantage hasn't moved onto something else, the plan is to break ground next year and move students in in 2014. The goal, according to the buyer, is to house about 460 residents in the new building.

Three area business events: marketing, biotech and sleep’s effect on metabolism

An OfficeHours roundup of coming events:

  • On Thursday April 12, from 6 to 8 p.m., the Greater Hillyard Business Association is holding its monthly gathering, with guest Wes Ward of iZigg Mobile Media. Ward will lead a discussion on how mobile marketing is changing how many businesses operate and connect with customers. 

The event is at Market Street Station, 5101 N. Market. To register, go here.

  • On Friday April 13 downtown, Greater Spokane Inc. is sponsoring a monthly Good Morning Spokane program focusing on biotech. Chris Rivera, head of the Washington Biotechnology & Biomedical Association, will be talk about the industry and its impact on Eastern Washington. Tom Fritz, CEO of INHS, and Lisa Shaffer of Signature Genomics will also give their perspective.  It runs from 7:30-9 a.m. at the downtown  DoubleTree Hotel. For details or to register, go to GreaterSpokane.org.
  • On Wednesday, April 18, Washington State University Spokane hosts its Chancellor's Research Breakfast. It starts at 7:30 a.m. at the Riverpoint South Campus Facility Court. 

Dr. Levente Kapas, associate professor for the WWAMI Spokane Medical Education Program, will present remarks on the effects of sleep on metabolism. Registration deadline is Friday, April 13. You can call 509-358-7504 or email requests to spokane.chancellor@wsu.edu.

 

Council may ask WSU to save historic warehouse

A historic building slated for the wrecking ball could get a friend in the Spokane City Council.

Late last year, Washington State University-Spokane announced it would sell a 102-year-old warehouse called the Jensen-Byrd building so a development company could tear down the brick building and erect student housing.

Last month, the city-county Historic Landmarks Commission determined the building is eligible to be placed on historic registries. That will create procedural hurdles for tearing it down, but doesn’t prohibit demolition as long as a new building takes its place.

On Monday, the Spokane City Council will consider a non-binding resolution requesting that WSU reconsider the decision.

Councilman Steve Salvatori, co-sponsor of the resolution, said the structure is sound. 

“It could be an iconic, signature part of the campus,” Salvatori said. “It could be the most iconic, signature landmark on that campus.”

Council gives OK to demolish Spokane’s Piggly Wiggly warehouse

The Spokane City Council on Monday gave the green light to tear down two 85-year-old downtown warehouses.

The city already has a demolition permit for the historic structures, which sit on the southeast corner of Riverside and Division, but the land is owned by Washington State University.

The council voted 6-1 to approve an agreement that transfers the land to the city, clearing the way for the buildings’ removal.

The warehouses are the former homes of Western Piggly Wiggly, a grocery chain based in Spokane that later was bought by Safeway, and Ryan Fruit Co. Earlier this year, downtown developer Dan Spalding unsuccessfully tried to persuade the city and WSU to save at least one of the buildings.

City administrators say that the buildings are in the way of the proposed extension of Riverside Avenue, which will be called Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

Eldon Brown, Spokane’s principal engineer of developer services, said construction of Riverside and demolition of the warehouses is expected to start around Oct. 1.