Economy, Business, Finance, and Labor

Economy and business news

Courtesy Columbia Grain

 

A possible strike or lock out at Northwest grain terminals would have a profound effect on U.S. wheat exports. 

Rahul Nair / Flickr

Sawmills in the Northwest have significantly ramped up production in response to the rebound in construction nationally. That's according to a market survey by an industry consultant based near Seattle.

Wood Resources International president Hakan Ekstrom says the region's sawmills are returning to profitability thanks to a happy coincidence of rising domestic and foreign demand.

Oregon Begins Mileage Tax Pilot Project

Nov 21, 2012

About 40 Oregon drivers are spending this fall measuring their miles on the road. It’s part of a pilot project to study alternatives to the gas tax.

Oregon lawmakers ordered the research out of concern that gas tax revenue will decline as more drivers switch to hybrid or electric vehicles. That could reduce funding for road maintenance.

Tammy Denny of Pendleton, Oregon is on a governor’s task force studying ways to calculate road fees based on mileage. She’s also taking part in the study. So Denny is keeping track of the 2,000 to 3,0000 miles she drives every month.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – You know all those fees and charges listed on your home or wireless phone bill? Well, rural telephone companies in Washington want to add one more: a state Universal Service Fee. Recently they co-sponsored a wine and beer reception for a key state regulator.

Photo by nerissa's ring via Flickr

RICHLAND, Wash. – This holiday season, Northwest winemakers are hoping to expand their customer base with a new sales venue. Seattle’s online shopping giant Amazon.com is now shipping wine.

Tom Hedges is co-founder of Hedges Family Estate on Red Mountain in southeast Washington. He says his family has only been selling wine on Amazon.com for about a week. It will take a few months to truly see if selling bottles through the site will actually pencil out.

Hedges doesn’t think there will be a lot of overlap with already established customers.

The Durant Family

Groves of olive trees might bring to mind for you sun-soaked Mediterranean or Californian landscapes. But in the last 10 years, a few Northwest growers have significantly ramped-up their production of domestic olive oil. They harvest just in time for the holidays.

The Durant family started in the wine grape business in Yamhill County, Oregon. The family diversified into olive growing about seven years ago.

Oregon Higher Ed Enrollment On The Rise

Nov 8, 2012

The number of students enrolled at public universities in Oregon has reached an all-time high. The Oregon University System announced Thursday that more than 101,000 people are taking classes.

Oregon State University in Corvallis enjoyed the biggest increase -- a nearly six percent jump from last year.

OSU's Assistant Provost for Enrollment, Kate Peterson, says one factor is a sharp drop in the number of students leaving school early for greener pastures.

Halloween Spending Up Across Nation

Oct 30, 2012

KENNEWICK, Wash. – If Halloween spending is an indicator of the economy, Americans are appear to be feeling better than this time last year -- or at least more ghoulish.

A new survey commissioned by the National Retail Federation found that seven of 10 Americans will celebrate Halloween this year. And they’re spending more says spokeswoman Kathy Grannis.

“The average person is expected to spend about $79 on Halloween decorations, costumes and candy.”

HOQUIAM, Wash. – Nearly 300,000 people in Washington are still unemployed and looking for work. But there was reason to celebrate Monday in coastal Grays Harbor County – where the unemployment rate is tied for the highest in the state. A shuttered paper mill there recently roared back to life. With it came 175 jobs.

It was a party atmosphere inside the long, narrow shipping warehouse at Harbor Paper. Several hundred people milled about as dignitaries, including Governor Chris Gregoire, mounted a makeshift stage.

Northwest Wild Mushrooms In Short Supply

Oct 24, 2012

Northwest wild mushrooms are in short supply this year. That’s had a big impact on the region’s lucrative mushroom hunting industry. It’s also changed what’s on fall restaurant menus in the Northwest and across the nation.

At Pagliacci Pizza in Seattle this autumn customers are often coming home to their families without the coveted mushroom Primo Pizza. The Northwest’s bleak mushroom crop means sometimes the stores cut back on the number of pies, or don’t have them at all.

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