Business News: Pillars of GF…jobs and lucky charms

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The number of people seeking unemployment benefits rose last week but remained at a historic low, reflecting a robust US labor market with near-record job openings and few layoffs. Unemployment claims rose by 18,000 to 185,000, the Labor Department said, after nearly hitting the lowest level since 1968 the previous week.

North Dakota’s unadjusted unemployment rate in March was 3.3%. The unemployment rate increased by 0.2 percentage point between February and March. Between February and March, unemployment rose by 645, an increase of 5.1%. North Dakota typically sees a slight drop in the number of unemployed between February and March.

Minnesota gained 11,500 jobs, up 0.4% in the past month on a seasonally adjusted basis after adding 13,000 jobs in February 2022. Minnesota’s labor force participation rate rose from 67 .9% to 68.1% and the unemployment rate fell by two tenths of a point to 2.5% in March against 2.7% in February 2022.

Retail sales edged up in March, but rising prices for food, gasoline and other basics took a large chunk out of consumers’ wallets. Retail sales rose 0.5% after posting a revised increase of 0.8% from January to February. Spending was fueled by wage gains, strong hiring and more money in bank accounts. January’s 4.9% increase was the largest increase in spending since March 2021, when U.S. households received a final federal stimulus check of $1,400.

Amazon says it will add a 5% “fuel and inflation surcharge” to the fees it charges third-party sellers who use the retailer’s fulfillment services. The move comes as the e-commerce giant faces rising costs. Seattle-based Amazon says the additional fee will take effect April 28 and is subject to change.

The US Food and Drug Administration is investigating Lucky Charms cereal after dozens of consumers complained of illness after eating it. The FDA said Saturday it has received more than 100 complaints related to lucky charms so far this year. Several hundred people also posted on a food safety website, iwaspoisoned.com, complaining of nausea, diarrhea and vomiting after eating Lucky Charms. General Mills Inc., the Minneapolis-based company that makes Lucky Charms and other cereals, said it takes the reports seriously. But the company said its own investigation found no evidence of consumer illness linked to lucky charms. (AP picture)

Delta Air Lines lost $940 million in the first quarter, but bookings have surged in recent weeks, sparking a breakout summer as Americans try to put the pandemic behind them. And while revenue in the quarter was surprisingly strong, the Atlanta-based airline is facing headwinds, including sharply rising fuel and labor costs.

Toyota is recalling about 460,000 vehicles in the United States to fix a software issue that can inadvertently disable the electronic stability control system. The automaker claims that when vehicles are restarted, the software may, in rare cases, not automatically switch the system to “on” mode. This can disable the system. The recall covers 2020 to 2022 models, including Toyota-branded Venza, Mirai, RAV4 Hybrid, RAV4 Prime, Sienna Hybrid and Highlander Hybrid models.

The City of Grand Forks is set to place four additional light pillars in downtown Grand Forks at a cost of $44,000 each. The pillars would be part of the North 4th Street reconstruction project scheduled for this summer. A total of 18 pillars already dot the DeMers and North 3rd Street sections. Badman Design was selected to design, manufacture and install the decorative light fixtures.

Grand Forks will pay $210,000 to relocate a 16-inch water pipe that conflicts with the Beacon Project site plan. The Beacon is a set of three seven-story mixed-use buildings near downtown with a public plaza. City leaders say the line is 55 years old and the building’s foundation would make future repairs difficult. The developer offered a contribution of $15,000. Final approval of the deal is expected this week.

Altru has been recertified as a HIMSS (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) Stage 7 facility for its inpatient and outpatient facilities. It recognizes the integration of technology in health care; specifically, how the use of electronic medical records (EMRs) leads to the development of better quality care.

Minnesota State Veterinarian and Executive Director of the Animal Health Council, Dr. Beth Thompson, is stepping down from her position effective May 8. She accepted the position of state veterinarian in her home state of South Dakota. The current Deputy Director, Dr. Linda Glaser, will take office as Acting State Veterinarian on May 9, 2022.

MnDOT and the City of Crookston are conducting a corridor study to assess existing conditions and potential improvements that could be made to the downtown area. The study will examine the future transportation and mobility needs of Highway 2 to create a safe, accessible and convenient corridor for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers. An open day will be held on April 28.

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