Economy, Business, Finance, and Labor

Economy and business news

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

"Hackerspaces" are popping up all over the Northwest. But these aren't dens of computer infiltrators.

What we're talking about are community workshops for tinkering, machine tooling, 3-D printing and any other hands-on creativity you can think of. Some market themselves under the more benign-sounding label of "maker space." These workshops are now drawing attention as private incubators for entrepreneurship.

But let's straighten out this name business.

Andreas Klinke Johannsen / Flickr

The unemployment rate held steady in Washington state in June. It stands at 6.8 percent according to the monthly update released in Olympia Wednesday.

For state labor economist Paul Turek, the biggest headline is found is deeper in the numbers. He sees signs of stronger hiring in the private sector. That has the side effect of motivating new job seekers to join -- or rejoin -- the labor force.

"We're seeing -- four years after the recession was declared over -- more decent signs of recovery taking place."

Union-Backed Lawsuit Seeks To Overturn Pension Cuts

Jul 3, 2013

Public employee unions have followed through with their threat to challenge legislatively-approved cuts to public pensions. A union-backed lawsuit, filed this week, seeks to overturn the new law.

Unions representing many of Oregon's public employees have said all along that they would challenge the new cost-cutting policy. With that in mind, lawmakers have already fast-tracked any legal challenges directly to the Oregon Supreme Court.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

The Canadian dollar -- affectionately known as the "loonie" -- is dropping in value. 

Andreas Klinke Johannsen / Flickr

Slow improvement in the labor market continues in Washington state. The latest unemployment rate came out Wednesday.

Washington's employment department said the jobless rate for May ticked down two-tenths of a percent from April to land at 6.8 percent.

State labor economist Paul Turek says it's the first time since late 2008 that the unemployment rate stood below seven percent.

Timber Giant Weyerhaeuser Makes Major Acquisition

Jun 17, 2013
camknows / Flickr

Timber industry giant Weyerhaeuser is about to get even bigger. The Federal Way, Washington-based company announced Monday that it's buying Longview Timber in a sale valued at more than $2.6 billion.

Weyerhauser says the purchase will increase its timber holdings in the Pacific Northwest by more than 33 percent. According to Weyerhaeuser and timber industry analysts, it's the third largest timber deal in U.S. history.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

For thousands of years, Northwest tribes have used the Columbia River as a regional center of commerce. For the first time this summer, they’re building a new venue for their ancient tradition – a native-owned seafood shop.

Fresh catch

A silvery shad slips into an icy bath. Its tail flashes twice as it descends deeper into the chilly water. The fish was netted from the Columbia just moments ago. It’s so fresh it’s still kicking.

State Economist: Oregon's Growth Rate Improving

May 16, 2013

Oregon's economic outlook is looking brighter. That's according to state economists, who issued their quarterly revenue forecast Thursday. The news comes as lawmakers get ready to put together the state's next two-year spending plan.

The slow and steady improvement is still steady, just not quite as slow. The overall growth rate is still a bit behind past expansions, but state economist Mark McMullen says some of the factors holding back Oregon's economy are looking better, such as jobs and the housing market.

Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Crowdfunding websites have grown rapidly as a way to raise money for creative ventures -- everything from movies to scientific research to clever inventions. You might have heard of Kickstarter, Indiegogo or Rockethub. It would be just a small leap to use those same platforms to sell shares in a startup. That's illegal right now, but maybe not for long.

Here's a story of small business in the Internet Age. Five years ago, Roberto Hoyos of Seattle founded a company to make what he describes as "geeky" pillows.

The unemployment rate in Washington state is down to a flat 7 percent. That news from the state employment department Wednesday. The agency recorded a drop in the jobless rate of 0.1 percent in April.

State labor economist Scott Bailey says that puts Washington's rate at the lowest it's been since the end of 2008. "Overall, we're seeing accelerating growth in terms of jobs compared to say a year ago."

Bailey estimates a net gain of 3,800 jobs statewide last month.

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