Economy, Business, Finance, and Labor

Economy and business news

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.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

In the next couple of months, many employment office workers in the Northwest will join the unemployed. State labor agencies are having to make cutbacks in staffing. It's due to a combination of the economy getting better and federal budget cuts known as the “sequester” setting in.

Staffing at the local employment office usually moves in the exact opposite direction as the rest of the economy. When times are tough, unemployment rolls are booming.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

The border between the states of Washington and Idaho is like a petri dish for what the minimum wage does to the economy. That’s where two extremes meet. Idaho has the federal minimum wage: $7.25 an hour. While Washington’s? It’s nearly $2 more -- the highest in the nation.

You might expect that wage gap to send Washington border businesses fleeing over to Idaho. But that's not what's happening.

Idaho Silver Feels The Slip In Metals Prices

Apr 26, 2013
Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

The decreasing price of gold has gotten a lot of attention among investors in recent weeks. The price of silver has received fewer headlines, but it's also dropped. That price has real economic impact in north Idaho, which has one of the richest silver deposits in the country.

There's not much wiggle room when silver drops down to $22 an ounce. That's only a little more than it costs the Galena Mine near Kellogg, Idaho, to get the silver out of the ground. Owner U.S. Silver has placed a hiring freeze on the mine and plans to cut costs by $1 million this year.

The unemployment rate in the state of Washington is falling again after being stuck in holding pattern for three months. The state Employment Security Department Wednesday pegged the jobless rate at 7.3 percent. That number for March is down .2 percent from February's rate.

State labor economist Anneliese Vance-Sherman says Washington's unemployment rate is at its lowest point in more than four years.

Dan Iggers / Flickr

OLYMPIA, Wash. – One of the Northwest’s most visible payday lenders is back in the middle of a fight over short-term loans. Moneytree wants the Washington legislature to approve a new type of consumer loan.

This new loan would give short-term borrowers more money up front, but also more time to pay it off. Someone in a financial pinch could borrow up to $1,500 cash over 12 months.

In testimony before a panel of lawmakers, opponent Bruce Neas noted that all the fees and interest could add up to more than the amount of the original loan.

Coeur d'Alene Mines Leaves Namesake Idaho Home

Mar 27, 2013

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho – Idaho is losing one of its oldest silver mining companies to Chicago. The Coeur d'Alene Mines Corporation announced Wednesday it plans to move to the Windy City by the end of September.

The company employs 65 people at its headquarters in Coeur d'Alene in north Idaho. But the firm known as "Coeur" hasn't had any holdings in the state since 2006.

Company spokeswoman Stefany Bales says Coeur managers need easier access to properties in Mexico, Bolivia and Australia.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – If you’re marking milestones in the slow climb out of the Great Recession, here’s a new one: Washington state tax collections have now recovered to pre-recession levels. That was one key takeaway from Wednesday’s quarterly revenue forecast.

In late 2007, the economy went into free fall. For two years, Washington tax revenues plunged. Since 2010 it’s been a slow, steady climb back up. Now tax collections are back to where they were before the economy tanked. Bright spots include an uptick in auto sales and signs of an improving housing market.

Pages