Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Business Briefs


April unemployment edges up

Idaho's economy continued slowing in April as the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate edged up a tenth to 3.1 percent from March. For the first time in more than five years, fewer people were working across the state than a year earlier.

In the Hailey "small labor market area," which includes Blaine and Camas counties, the April unemployment rate is up two tenths over March, at 2.6, and up six-tenths over April 2007 when it was 2.0.

Continued sluggishness in construction and a ninth straight month of declining employment in manufacturing contributed to nearly 800 more people in the state looking for work, raising the ranks of the unemployed to just over 23,000. That's 2,500 more people off the job than a year ago.

Scott USA hires new staff

Ketchum-based sports equipment manufacturer Scott USA announced that Jeff Buerman, Scott Irvine and Fred Faustman have joined the Bike Group sales staff.

Shane Kinman has taken over as art director and Sam Rodgers as associate art director.

Entrepreneurs to get connected

Idaho TechConnect invites aspiring entrepreneurs to attend its annual education and networking workshop May 28-29 in Boise.

TechLaunch 5.0 will be held at the Doubletree Riverside hotel. Adult registration is $75 if done by May 16 and an extra $25 after that. Students get in for $50.

TechLaunch is an annual event that brings together science and technology companies, government agencies, economic development professional and investors to learn about the "financing food chain," states a press release from Idaho TechConnect.

For more information on the event, visit www.idahotechconnect.com.

Venues sought for Hailey Art Walk

On Friday, May 23, the fourth Hailey Arts Walk will be held at studios and shops in Hailey. Businesses are encouraged to partner with an artist for the community event.

To participate or for more information, call Melissa Brown at 721-0447.

Ultimate Services gains new partner

Sun Valley Ultimate Services LLC announced that Amy Callahan is now a partner, joining Page Klune, founder of the concierge business. Ultimate Services will continue to oversee and rent luxury homes in the Sun Valley area as well as offer personalized services customized for each guest.

Klune has been a real estate broker in Boston, a fashion editor in New York City, a caterer in Marina del Rey, Calif., and a decorator in Los Angeles.

Callahan recently moved to the Wood River Valley with her son, Zac, from Mobile, Ala., where she was a cardiology nurse for 16 years.

For more information, visit sunvalleyultimateservices.com

Workforce alliance to 'kick off'

The Workforce Development Alliance, formed in 2007 to promote talent development and workforce recruitment for new industries, will hold its Kickoff Event on Thursday, May 8, at College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls.

The event will focus on "Preparing Southern Idaho's Workforce for Now and the Future" from noon to 2:30 p.m. at the Herrett Center for the Arts and Sciences. Lt. Gov. Jim Risch and U.S. Department of Labor Assistant Secretary Douglas Small will be among the speakers.

To help the Workforce Development Alliance achieve its goals, the U.S. Department of Labor awarded it a $5 million Workforce Innovations in Regional Economic Development grant.

Idaho finds jobs for displaced workers

Idaho led the nation in finding jobs for low-income adult workers between mid-2006 and mid-2007, the Idaho Department of Labor announced last month.

Through the Workforce Investment Act program, 299 of the 310 low-income adults who received training, or 96.5 percent, secured employment, the Labor Department reported. Arkansas was second with 92 percent, while the national average was 78.2 percent.

Nine of every 10 low-income adult workers were still on the job nine months after being employed, reported the Labor Department, besting a national job retention rate of 83.5 percent.

The Workforce Investment Act program is designed to help low-income workers who lost jobs through plant closures or downsizing.

Idaho wages rise

As of 2006, the average annual wage in Blaine County was $34,475, up 7.39 percent from 2005, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reported last week.

Twenty-seven of Idaho's 44 counties saw wages increase faster than the national average during 2006, the most recent year for which the government has compiled figures. During that time, the state's unemployment rate dropped steadily to monthly record lows and the economy created more then 27,000 new jobs,

The federal report found that wages in Idaho's 11 metropolitan counties rose 5.6 percent from 2005, a full percentage higher than the metropolitan increase nationally, while wages in Idaho's non-metropolitan counties were up 5.3 percent, a point and a third more than the national increase.

It was the third straight year that Idaho's less-urban counties recorded wage growth higher than the national average, while Idaho's metropolitan wage growth exceeded the national rate for the second year in a row.

Ada County, with the state's largest population where more than a third of the state's wages are paid, recorded an increase in the average wage of 6.3 percent to $38,647, which accounted for 45 percent of the statewide increase.

Surrounding Blaine County, Camas County recorded an increase in the average wage of 8.37 percent to $26,022, while Custer County saw an increase in the average wage of 10.98 percent to $32,844. To the south, Lincoln County recorded an increase in the average wage of 3.95 percent to $26,389.




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