Economy

Photo by Hecla Mining

Four miners who were injured and trapped by a rock burst at a northern Idaho mine two years ago are suing Hecla Mining Co., alleging mine mangers sent them into unsafe working conditions while assuring them the area was safe.

The Spokesman-Review reports Ronnel E. Barrett, Gregg Hammerberg, Eric J. Tester and Matthew Williams are seeking more than $1 million for injuries, medical treatment and lost wages.

Northwest farmers hired significantly more foreign guest workers this season under a special immigration program.

Transportation, megaload
Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

A shipment of nearly a million pounds of oil field equipment resumed its drive Tuesday night toward Canada. The load had been stopped for the past week by bad weather in eastern Oregon.

A spokeswoman for the company in charge of the shipment, Omega Morgan, says the "megaload" started moving again around 10 p.m.  Holly Zander says crews pulled the equipment about 50 miles along Highway 395 before stopping around 4 a.m.

Omega Morgan is expected to be issued the necessary permits to move the load through southern Idaho.

TBiley / Flickr Creative Commons

Greek yogurt company Chobani says it is increasing production at its Twin Falls plant and adding production of a new "light" yogurt called Simply 100.

Chobani officials tell The Times-News the $450 million plant is running at optimal production capability for the first time since it opened a year ago. When the plant opened, it made about 100,000 cases of yogurt per week running three or four production lines. It is now running 12 production lines and producing up to a million cases of yogurt a week.

Northwest wine grape growers expect this week's cold weather to do some damage to their vineyards. But it’s not clear yet how much of next year’s fruit might be affected.

Washington Post

A Washington Post analysis of elite Zip codes in the United States shows Idaho doesn’t have a so-called Super Zip. These are high-end neighborhoods where the median annual household income is $120,000 and 7 in 10 adults have a college degree.

The Post analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data and plotted their findings on this interactive map. There are 650 Super Zips in the country, with the largest concentration of wealth and education in Washington, D.C.

potatoes
thebittenword.com / Flickr Creative Commons

A set of lawsuits winding its way through federal court in Idaho combine a couple phrases you might not expect to find together: "massive international cartel" and "potato."

According to a group of grocers, the innocuous looking potato on your plate got there through a conspiracy involving price-fixing, coercion and aerial surveillance. But potato growers counter there is no cartel. Just a co-op.

As the Christmas shopping season gets into full-swing, Black Friday was a day of protest for some in the Northwest.

One out of every five cranberries grown in the U.S. is eaten Thanksgiving week, according to industry giant Ocean Spray.

Early crop reports from farmers say Washington and Oregon’s wine grape harvest appears to be up a tick for 2013.

megaload, transportation
Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Giant pieces of equipment headed for Canada's oil sands are expected to travel through southern Idaho once the oversized gear makes its way across Oregon.

Omega Morgan, a trucking company hired, was forced to choose a new route for moving its so-called 'megaloads' through Idaho after a judge blocked plans to ship the loads over U.S. Highway 12.

Call Center Job Fair
Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's unemployment insurance claims dropped to their lowest level since 2006, a year of strong economic growth that preceded the deep recession that began in December 2007.

The Department of Labor said Monday it paid 7,462 regular benefit claims during the third week of November, 14 fewer than that week in 2006.

The amount paid was still 23 percent higher than 2006, however, because the average benefit is $25 higher this year at $255, reflecting benefit increases over the past seven years.

The first of three hulking pieces of oil equipment, known as “megaloads,” is expected to start its slow, winding journey through eastern Oregon Monday.

calculator, taxes
401(K)2013 / Flickr Creative Commons

With Cyber Monday less than a week away, holiday shoppers are busy buying gifts online. But many shoppers don’t realize if they purchase items on the Internet, they still owe the state some money.

It’s called the use tax and it’s been around since 1965. It applies to anything you buy over the phone, mail-order, or the Internet. It’s the same rate as the regular sales tax, 6 percent.

The Boise Rescue Mission has finalized a deal to buy a facility in Nampa to house 60 women and children.

KTVB-TV reports the deal completed Friday will fill a need throughout Canyon County and will be the only shelter of its kind in Nampa.

The new facility will be called the Valley Women and Children's Shelter.

The building used to house the Valley Crisis Center, but that closed several months ago.

job fair, Meridian, unemployment
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's jobless rate held steady in September, and dropped slightly in October. The Idaho Labor Department reports the unemployment rate was unchanged from August to September at 6.8 percent. It fell in October to 6.7 percent.

Normally, jobless rates come out once a month. Friday’s two-for-one report was released because of the partial government shutdown over the first two weeks of October.

Megaloads
Nicholas.Senn / Flickr Creative Commons

A company hired by a subsidiary of General Electric to ship massive oil refinery equipment to the tar sands project in Canada is now seeking to haul the oversized loads across eastern Oregon and southern Idaho.

The first of three megaloads could begin making its way through Oregon this weekend before crossing into Idaho's southwestern corner next week.

The Oregon Department of Transportation has already issued permits for the first shipment, while Idaho highway officials are still studying the travel plan submitted by shipper Omega Morgan.

Data: Personal Income Growth Slows In Idaho

Nov 21, 2013
personal income map
Bureau of Economic Analysis

Personal income growth slowed between 2011 and 2012 across Idaho's metro areas. That’s according to data released Thursday by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA).

On average, incomes grew by 4.2 percent across the nation’s metro areas. None of Idaho’s metro areas met or exceeded that average.

Idaho Narrows The Business Equipment Tax Exemption With New Rules

Nov 19, 2013
railroad tracks
Shalbs / Flickr Creative Commons

Certain utility companies in Idaho won't see as large of a tax break as many anticipated now that the state has more clearly defined what types of property qualify for the business equipment tax exemption.

The Idaho Tax Commission Tuesday unanimously approved two rules that define the difference between real and personal property.

The Northwest programmers behind the computer game Myst are now trying to write their next chapter.

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