Economy

Economy
9:15 am
Tue April 10, 2012

FDA Shuts Down Northwest Cheese Producer

Del Bueno’s queso fresco was recalled in 2010
FDA.gov

The Food and Drug Administration has shut down a family-owned Mexican style cheese producer in Washington State . FDA inspectors say Del Bueno isn’t doing enough to prevent Listeria contamination in its products, even after several recalls.

Del Bueno distributes a variety of cheeses to Hispanic food stores across Eastern Washington, the Seattle area, and parts of Oregon.

Jesus Rodriguez and his parents operate Del Bueno out of Grandview, Wash. He says it will cost thousands of dollars to comply with the FDA’s demands.

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StateImpact Idaho
7:45 am
Fri April 6, 2012

Rural Idaho Continues To Shrink

Fairfield, Idaho
Molly Messick StateImpact Idaho

Rural Idaho counties are becoming, well, rural-er.

New data from the U.S. Census Bureau show populations continue to decline in rural parts of the state.

Census numbers released this week look at population movement between 2010 and 2011.  According to the Idaho Department of Labor’s analysis, more counties lost population over that year than at any other time since the 1980s.  Continue reading...

Gas Prices
4:45 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Supply, Demand, And Speculation Play Roles In High Gas Prices

Gas Pump
Derek Jensen Tysto-Wikimedia Commons

Gas prices are on the rise throughout the United States.  In Idaho, it costs on average about $3.80 a gallon.  That’s up from $3.00 a gallon at the start of this year.   One reason for this spike has to do with future bets on oil prices.

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Economy
7:57 am
Wed April 4, 2012

Extended Unemployment Benefits Ending In Washington & Oregon

Thousands of long-term unemployed workers in the northwest will soon lose unemployment checks. It'll happen this weekend in Oregon; two weeks later in Washington State but likely not for several more months in Idaho. The federal government won't pay for extended benefits anymore because the jobless rates have improved.  

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Transportation
3:05 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

Vanpooling With Big Red: A Way To Cut Gas And Other Costs

ACHD Commuteride's Big Red
Scott Ki Boise State Public Radio

Gas prices in Idaho continue to climb, so people are looking at other ways to commute.  They walk, bike, bus, or take a public van.  Ada County Highway District runs one of the oldest vanpool programs in the nation. Commuteride  started in the 1970s.  

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Economy
2:05 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

Horizon Air To Base Flight Crews In Boise, Medford, and Spokane

Bombardier Q400
Horizon Air

Editor's Note: This story has been updated with additional information. The original story stated that by the end of the summer, Horizon Air's nearly 900 pilots and flight attendants would also call Boise, Idaho, Medford, Oregon and Spokane, Washington home. We've clarified this to say that by the end of the summer 300 of those 900 flight crews will be based in Boise, Medford and Spokane. 

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StateImpact Idaho
10:49 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Session Wrap: What Passed, What Flopped

The 2012 legislative session adjourned Mar. 29
Tom Kelly Flickr

The 2012 Legislature adjourned late last week, accomplishing its only constitutional duty, which is to pass a balanced budget.  StateImpact Idaho’s Emilie Ritter Saunders has watched the budget process closely.  Saunders told Samantha Wright there weren’t many surprises this session, but there were a couple of things that didn’t pan out, including creating a state health care exchange.

TRANSCRIPT

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Economy
9:56 am
Fri March 30, 2012

State Lotteries Report Brisk Sales In Advance Of MegaMillions Jackpot

megamillions.com

Sales are brisk across the Northwest for today’s MegaMillions drawing. The $540 million lottery jackpot is being called the largest in world history. The high-profile jackpot also means state lotteries of  Idaho, Oregon, and Washington  are anticipating a payday of their own.

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Economy
9:42 am
Thu March 29, 2012

Employment Up In Idaho’s Silver Valley As Miners Find Work

Lucky Friday Mine workers in Mullan, Idaho are valued for their skill at "jackleg" mining, using hand-held equipment seen here.
Hecla Mining

Laid-off silver miners in north Idaho aren’t staying out-of-work for long. Around 250 miners and contractors lost their jobs at the end of last year when the Lucky Friday Mine was shut down for safety improvements. But since then, the Silver Valley’s unemployment rate has actually dropped two percentage points.

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Housing
12:12 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

Home Prices Continue To Drop In Some Northwest Cities

Home prices continue to fall in much of the Northwest. New figures released Tuesday show yet another drop in both Seattle and Portland. 

The S&P/Case-Schiller Index measures housing prices in 20 large metropolitan areas around the country. The newest figures are through January and in them, both Seattle and Portland hit new lows for the current economic downturn. Average home prices in both cities are down about four percent from a year ago.

Steve Thoele is an agent with Keller-Williams Realty in Portland. He blogs about housing trends in Oregon.

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Economy
2:52 pm
Tue March 27, 2012

Explosion At Micron’s Boise Campus Injures 7

Micron's Boise Campus
Scott Ki Boise State Public Radio

An explosion at Micron Technology in Boise injured seven people Tuesday.  The injuries were minor and damage is limited to a utility room. 

The call for emergency crews came in at about ten Tuesday morning.  A piece of equipment at Micron’s campus exploded.  Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan says the accident happened in a utility room underground, below where semiconductors are fabricated. "It did move a concrete wall.  It was a fairly significant explosion down in that room."

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StateImpact Idaho
7:15 am
Mon March 26, 2012

Scentsy Becomes A Multimillion Dollar Business

Maggie Clark is one of Scentsy's more than 170,000 sellers.
Emilie Ritter Saunders StateImpact Idaho

Many Idaho companies issued a fair number of pink slips during the recession.  But Meridian-based Scentsy didn’t.

Instead, the wickless-candle maker grew.  It’s ranked among the country’s most promising companies by business magazines like Forbes and Inc.com.  In just seven years, Scentsy has become a multimillion dollar enterprise.

StateImpact Idaho
9:50 am
Fri March 23, 2012

Idaho’s Jobless Rate Falls To 8.0 Percent

Job seekers mingle at a recent job fair in Meridian, Idaho.
Emilie Ritter Saunders Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho Department of Labor reports February’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has fallen for the seventh straight month to 8.0 percent.

Economy
5:18 am
Fri March 23, 2012

ATM Fee For Wash. Welfare Recipients Could Be A Thing Of The Past

The 85-cent ATM fee that JPMorgan Chase charges Washington welfare clients could soon be a thing of the past. The state hopes to have a deal by the end of the month with JPMorgan on a new, lower cost contract for electronic benefits. 

We first reported on the 85-cent fee because JPMorgan Chase wasn’t disclosing it at ATM machines. Now the fee is disclosed. But critics say it amounts to a tax on the poor.

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StateImpact Idaho
9:20 am
Tue March 20, 2012

Flight Cuts Hit Midsize Cities As They Try For A Turnaround

On a Monday morning, the Southwest ticket counter at Boise Airport was mostly vacant. The airline recently suspended service from Boise to Seattle, Salt Lake and Reno.
Molly Messick StateImpact Idaho

Boise resident C.K. Haun has this routine down.  He may live in Idaho, but he’s a senior engineer at Apple.  Long before the sun is up, he arrives at the Boise Airport, to catch his regular flight to San Jose.  “I can do this by autopilot now,” he says. “Most of the TSA people know me, and we smile and say hi.  Every Monday morning, week in week out!”  Continue reading...

Economy
11:53 am
Thu March 15, 2012

New Report Gives Idaho’s Roads and Bridges Below Average Grade

 

BOISE, ID – Three years ago the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the nation’s infrastructure a D grade.  This year, a local branch of the organization says Idaho does slightly better than the U.S.

Think report card.  Idaho would get a C minus overall for its infrastructure.  Things like bridges, state highways, and public transit.  Idaho did worst for upkeep of bridges and highways – a D plus.  Seth Olsen is a Boise civil engineer.  He helped put this report together.

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Economy
6:13 pm
Wed March 14, 2012

New Report Gives Idaho’s Roads and Bridges Below Average Grade

Scott Ki Boise State Public Radio

BOISE, ID – Three years ago the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the nation’s infrastructure a D grade.  This year, a local branch of the organization says Idaho does slightly better than the U.S.

Think report card.  Idaho would get a C minus overall for its infrastructure.  Things like bridges, state highways, and public transit.  Idaho did worst for upkeep of bridges and highways – a D plus.  Seth Olsen is a Boise civil engineer.  He helped put this report together.

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Jobless In Idaho
12:59 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Jobless in Idaho: National Guard Soldiers Seek Deployment In Face Of Job Market

Spc. David Hanson, 24, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, has been working as a private security guard since returning home from Iraq last fall.
Jessica Robinson Northwest News Network

The Idaho Department of Labor estimates there are at least 63,000 people in the state without work.  That doesn’t include thousands more who are underemployed or have stopped looking for a job.  This is the latest story in StateImpact Idaho's “Jobless in Idaho” series, that follows several Idahoans in their search for work.

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Economy
11:49 am
Tue February 28, 2012

Foreign Trade Zone To Open In The Treasure Valley

Boise, ID – More than half a trillion dollars worth of goods flowed into U.S. Foreign Trade Zones during fiscal year 2010.  Companies use these zones because it saves them money when they bring products into the country.  Idaho has one in Eastport near the Canadian border.  Another will open in Caldwell in a few weeks.

A foreign trade zone sounds glamorous, but the reality is a bit mundane.  The one opening in Caldwell is really an industrial park with new office buildings that quickly give way to farm fields:

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Economy
1:49 pm
Thu February 9, 2012

INL Plans More Lay-Offs

BOISE, ID – Idaho National Laboratory officials announced today they plan to lay off up to 185 people.  Mark Holubar directs Human Resources at Battelle Energy Alliance.  That’s the company that runs Idaho National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy.  Holubar says, “This is obviously a very difficult situation for us and any time that we are talking about the possibility of eliminating somebody’s job it’s not an easy thing.”

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