GF Business News: Jobs… beer and coffee

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Employers posted a record 11.5 million job openings in March, meaning the United States now has a record two job openings for every unemployed person. The latest data released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics further reveals an extraordinarily tight labor market that has encouraged millions of Americans to seek better-paying jobs, while contributing to the biggest spike in inflation in four decades.

The Labor Market Information Center has released 2021 annual employment and wages by industry. In 2021, employment in North Dakota increased by 1.1%, a gain of 4,484 jobs. The average weekly salary for 2021 was $1,093, up 2.4% from the previous year. Among the top 20 industry categories, the largest employment increases were in accommodation and food services (+2,021), retail trade (+1,032) and manufacturing (+887) . Employment in Grand Forks County increased by 589 during the year.

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

The Grand Forks JDA has approved a combination of FlexPACE loans and bridge financing to help North Dakota Roastery LLC expand. The company is looking to increase its coffee production capacity by acquiring a building at 1401 Dyke Avenue. The move will also allow for the production and canning of new products, including the company’s own cold brew coffee. The project totals $797,000.

Half Brothers Brewing of Grand Forks will benefit from a $140,000 C-RUN loan program through the city to support the purchase of equipment needed to boost production. The JDA has approved the use of the COVID-Response Unmet Needs Low Interest Loan at a fixed interest rate of 1%. The move will increase distribution in South Dakota…Nebraska…and Winnipeg. Craft beer is also available in North Dakota and much of Minnesota.

Starbucks’ sales hit a record $7.6 billion in its fiscal second quarter, but its profits were hit by rising labor costs. And those costs are expected to rise further as the company tries to fend off a growing labor movement. Starbucks said Tuesday it would spend $200 million this year on better wages and benefits, but stressed that workers at unionized stores would not be eligible.

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

North Dakota’s recent use of drones to aid in weather disaster recovery efforts in blizzard-affected rural areas has racked up numbers. Remotely piloted drones, piloted by ISight Drone Services and the NPUASTS, are capable of flying beyond line of sight as part of the Vantis network. In the first two days, the team covered approximately 1,730 poles and over 80 miles of damaged electrical services.

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

The Northwest Minnesota Small Business Development Center is hosting a free training event in hopes of guiding and educating 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., has been chosen to lead the Division of Business, Arts, and Education at the University of Minnesota Crookston. She replaces Mark Huglen, Ph.D., who has served as interim principal since August 2021. Erickson Johnsen most recently served as associate provost and associate vice president of academic affairs for Governors State University in University Park, Ill. . take office on July 1, 2022.

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

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