July 18, 2021

GF Business News: Jobs…GF homes sales & Juba Cafe

GF Business News: Jobs…GF homes sales & Juba Cafe

The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits has reached its lowest level since the pandemic struck last year, further evidence that the U.S. economy and job market are quickly rebounding from the pandemic recession. Thursday’s report from the Labor Department showed that jobless claims fell by 26,000 last week to 360,000. The weekly tally has fallen more or less steadily since topping 900,000 in early January.


North Dakota’s June not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 4.4 percent. The jobless rate rose 0.9 of a percentage point between May and June.  Between May 2021 and June 2021 unemployment rose by 4,020, an increase of 28.3 percent. North Dakota typically sees a moderate increase in unemployment numbers between May and June.


Minnesota’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate remained steady at 4.0% in June and the state’s labor force participation rate also remained level at 67.9%, according to numbers released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Nationally, the unemployment rate rose one-tenth of a percentage point in June to 5.9%.  Over the month, Minnesota lost 600 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis.


The Labor Market Information Center has released the latest Online Job Openings Report (OJOR), a monthly summary of online job openings and active résumés from Job Service North Dakota’s labor exchange system. North Dakota had a total of 18,017 open and available online job openings in June 2021, a change of +0.4 percent (+79) from the prior month and +58.5 percent (+6,648) from the same month one year ago.


Americans spent more last month on clothing and dining out as the economy opened up amid fewer pandemic-related restrictions. U.S. retail sales rose a seasonal adjusted 0.6% in June from the month before, the U.S. Commerce Department said Friday. Sales at bars and restaurants rose 2.3%, according to Friday’s report. Clothing store sales rose by 2.6% and sales at electronic shops were up 3.3%.


Minnesota business services firms expect continued recovery from the pandemic recession during the next four quarters, with 55% of respondents expecting increase in consumer spending and 46% anticipating growth in employment. Those are the results released from a joint survey conducted in May and June of this year by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.


A new monthly survey of bankers in rural parts of 10 Plains and Western states suggests continued economic growth in the region, even as nonfarm jobs in most of those states remained below pre-pandemic levels. The overall Rural Mainstreet economic index dropped to 65.6 in July from June’s 70.0. Bankers from Minnesota…South Dakota…and North Dakota were surveyed.


The former Highlander Lounge at 1448 South Washington has been getting a facelift.  Signage on the building suggests it will be the new home of Halal Meats…a money transfer service…and Juba Cafe.  The City of Grand Forks issued a building permit earlier this month for a $35,000 commercial kitchen project on site.  The building dates back to 1962.


Mortgage rates were mixed this week. The benchmark 30-year loan fell for the third straight week amid lingering concerns over the recent surge in inflation. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reports that the average for the 30-year home loan eased to 2.88% from 2.90% last week, down from its peak this year of 3.18% in April. The rate for a 15-year loan edged up to 2.22% from 2.20% last week.


Home sales in Grand Forks / East Grand Forks remain strong.  The Grand Forks Board of Realtors says 146 single family homes…townhomes…and condos exchanged hands in June.  That compares to 89 one year ago.  The average sales price was $269,141 dollars.  Demand continues to outweigh supply but officials say the situation is beginning to ease somewhat.


Altru will hold a second listening session in Devils Lake this week as the health care system tries to gauge support for acquiring the St. Alexius Hospital. Altru says the future of healthcare in DL is at risk. The forum is set for July 20th at the Lake Region State College Dining Room.


Northwestern Mental Health Center, a private, non-profit behavioral health center, announces its name change to Alluma.  The name change was effective July 1, 2021.  The name Alluma was created by intentionally combining the word ‘all’ and the Latin term for light, ‘luma,’ or ‘illuminate,’ creating a new word that could be interpreted as ‘everyone shines.


The North Dakota Department of Commerce today announced five projects totaling $731,044, were awarded AmeriCorps funding.  Cooperstown Community Activities was awarded $37,921 in federal funds providing $42,300 in matching funds for six AmeriCorps members to provide service in education and healthy futures.


The University of North Dakota has hired former professional gamer Travis Isbell as Esports Director for the North Dakota Varsity Esports program.  North Dakota Varsity Esports has since enlisted nearly 100 students for its teams and varsity rosters.  As Esports Director, Isbell, a native of Exeter, Calif., will report directly to Eric Link, provost and vice president for academic affairs.


Netflix has hired veteran video game executive Mike Verdu, signaling the video streaming service is poised to expand into another fertile field of entertainment. The company hopes to sustain the momentum it gathered last year when people turned to the video streaming service to get through lockdowns imposed during the pandemic.  Adding video games would give Netflix another way to keep subscribers hooked on its service.

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