GF Business News: Jobs…beer & coffee

By | May 9, 2022
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Employers posted a record 11.5 million job openings in March, meaning the United States now has an first who has two job openings for every person is unemployed. The latest data released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics further reveals an extraordinarily tight labor market that has emboldened millions of Americans to seek better paying jobs, while also contributing to the biggest inflation surge in four decades.

The Labor Market Information Center has released annual 2021 employment and wages by industry. In 2021, North Dakota employment increased by 1.1 percent – ​​a gain of 4,484 jobs. Average weekly wages for 2021 were $1,093, higher by 2.4 percent from the prior year. Of the 20 major industry categories, the largest employment increases occurred in Accommodation and Food Services (+2,021), Retail Trade (+1,032), and Manufacturing (+887). Employment in Grand Forks County increased by 589 over the year.

Average long-term US mortgage rates resumed their ascent this week, as the key 30-year loan reached its highest point since 2009. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reports that the 30-year rate rose to 5.27% from 5.1% last week. The average rate on 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages jumped to 4.52% from 4.4% last week.

The Grand Forks JDA has approved a combination of FlexPACE loans and gap funding to assist in the expansion of North Dakota Roastery LLC. The company is looking to boost coffee production capacity by accquiring a building at 1401 Dyke Avenue. The move will also enable the production and canning of new products, including the company’s own cold brew coffee. The project totals $797,000 dollars.

Half Brothers Brewing of Grand Forks will tap into a $140,000 C-RUN loan program via the city to support the purchase of equipment needed to boost production. The JDA approved the use of the low interest COVID-Response Unmet Needs loan at a fixed 1% interest rate. The move will increase distribution into South Dakota…Nebraska…and Winnipeg. The craft beer is also available across North Dakota and much of Minnesota.

Starbucks’ sales climbed to a record $7.6 billion in its fiscal second quarter, but its profits took a hit from climbing labor costs. And those costs are set to go even higher as the company tries to head off a growing union movement. Starbucks said Tuesday it will spend $200 million this year on better pay and benefits, but stressed that workers at unionized stores won’t be eligible.

State School Superintendent Kirsten Baesler is asking North Dakota students to apply for the Superintendent’s Student Cabinet. The goal of the group is to generate ideas and opinions about improving K-12 education. Members are chosen to serve for 18 months, with terms beginning July 1. The present Cabinet has 23 members. Applications are due May 23rd.

North Dakota’s recent use of drones to assist with weather disaster recovery effort in rural areas impacted by blizzards piled up some numbers. The remote-pilot-operated drones, flown by ISight Drone Services and the NPUASTS, are able to operate beyond-visual-line-of-sight flights as part of the Vantis network. In the first two days, the team covered approximately 1,730 poles and more than 80 miles of damaged electrical services.

The US postmaster general says Americans should get used to “uncomfortable” postage rate increases. Louis DeJoy said Thursday he will advocate for the Board of Governors to continue raising rates until the Postal Service meets its goal of becoming self-sustaining. He says the Postal Service was “severely damaged” by at least 10 years of “a defective pricing model” that cannot be overcome with one or two annual increases, especially in times of inflation.

The Northwest Minnesota Small Business Development Center is putting on a free training event with hopes to guide and educate small business owners to help them better understand how to start a business. The SBDC and East Grand Forks EDA are hosting three events: 5/11 Thief River fall….5/20 in Crookston…and 5/25in East Grand Forks.

Rosemary Erickson Johnsen, Ph.D., was selected to lead the Business, Arts, and Education Division at the University of Minnesota Crookston. She replaces Mark Huglen, Ph.D., who has been serving as acting head since August 2021. Erickson Johnsen has most recently been serving as associate provost and associate vice president of academic affairs for Governors State University in University Park, Ill. She will begin her duties July 1, 2022.

A cardiologist who helped invent an automatic implantable defibrillator that has helped countless heart patients live longer and healthier has died. Dr. Morton Mower was 89 years old when he died last week in Denver. He spent much of his medical career in Baltimore and at Sinai Hospital.

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