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Archives: Oct. 2010

Oct.
29th

Bureau of Labor Statistics releases latest earnings figures

The Bureau of Labor Statistics is out this week with its quarterly look at wages in the United States.

The median weekly earnings for the nation’s 101.4 million full-time wage and salary workers were $740 in the third quarter. That’s 0.3 percent higher than the same quarter in 2009. (And while wages are up, so are overall consumer prices – by 1.2 percent for the year.)

Among the findings:

• Women who worked full-time during the quarter had median weekly earnings of $662, or 81.4 percent of the $813 median earnings of men.

• Asians earned the highest median weekly

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Oct.
29th

Four employees laid off at Tacoma chamber; membership and revenue down 20 percent as search continues for a new leader

The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber this morning announced that four employees have been laid off.

The chamber executive committee made the decision to trim staff because of declining revenues and difficult economic times, said Interim President and CEO Mike Hansch in a telephone interview.

“We have downsized the chamber to reflect the economic conditions of today based on the tough times business is going through, and we hope to build our membership in the future and possibly to be able to bring these people back,” he said

Names of those leaving and the positions they held were not released. Hansch said

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Oct.
29th

Lakewood’s Northwest Commercial Bank reports 4th consecutive quarterly profit

Northwest Commercial Bank this week reported a third-quarter profit of $111,052, up from a loss of $425,000 in the same quarter last year.

Kurt Graff, CEO and president of the Lakewood-based bank, said in a statement that year-to-date profit has reached $269,048, compared to a nine-month loss of $585,000 in 2009.

This quarter’s gain represents a per-share profit of 21 cents, compared to a loss of $1.09 per share a year ago.

Loans at Northwest Commercial totaled $62.88 million, compared to $61.87 million at the end of the second quarter. Deposits increased from $61.91 million on June 30 to $62.66

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Oct.
28th

Sea-Tac to get “central air” for planes at gates

Sea-Tac Airport got a financial boost today for its plan to reduce air pollution at the busy airport when the Federal Aviation Administration announced an $18.3 million grant to help build a centralized heating and air conditioning system for planes at airport gates.

This “central air” system will replace a hodgepodge of less efficient, more polluting systems used to keep aircraft interiors cool or warm while the planes are loading passengers.

When the $33-million system is completed in 2012, aircraft will receive conditioned air through a flexible duct that will connect the aircraft to the heating system at each gate.

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Oct.
28th

Blame a bug, not the campaign trail, for governor’s absence at Port of Tacoma event

Gov. Christine Gregoire didn’t lose her voice because she wore it out on the campaign trail as The News Tribune reported Thursday, but rather because a bad cold and laryngitis took it from her.

Gregoire spokeswoman Karina Shagren said the gov canceled several scheduled events Wednesday afternoon including the ceremony marking the first use of shore power to operate a ship docked at the Port of Tacoma.

“The governor’s absence had nothing to do with “extensive campaigning” and everything to do with her lost voice from a terrible cold and laryngitis. In fact, the governor had to cancel other

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Oct.
27th

Parent of AmericanWest Bank of Spokane intends to declare bankruptcy; California private capital steps in

Let the bidding begin, perhaps, for a Spokane bank.

AmericanWest Bancorp announced today that it would sell its subsidiary AmericanWest Bank, thereby raising capital and restoring compliance to regulatory orders.

The company operates branches throughout Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho, and in Utah with its subsidiary division, Far West Bank.

To facilitate the deal, the holding company intends to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and it is expected that the bankruptcy court will supervise a competitive bidding process.

Privately held SKBHC Holdings of California has signed a purchase agreement to acquire all AmericanWest Bank stock for $6.5 million in cash,

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Oct.
27th

The chicken, the cow and that vicious pumpkin pie: Workers make excuses

Sorry, boss, I won’t be in today. I’m feeling a bit woozy. My brain hurts. I’ve got a headache in my foot. The dog ate my homework.

CareerBuilder.com is out today with its annual list of unusual excuses for calling in sick.

As part of its recent survey, the online employment service asked about unexcused absences in the workplace. Among the findings:

• 29 percent of employees have played hooky in the past year and 27 percent of employers say they’re seeing an increase in bogus excuses due to economy-related stress and burnout.
• 29 percent of employers have

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Oct.
27th

Pierce County bankruptcy filings up 18 percent over last year

My colleague Rolf Boone of The Olympian newspaper reported this morning on bankruptcy filings in Western Washington. You can read his story here.

His report included Pierce County data. Locally, bankruptcy filings through the first nine months of the year rose nearly 18 percent from the same period in 2009, according to data compiled by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Washington. Total filings rose to 3,849 through September, up from the 3,262 cases filed last year through September 2009, the data show.

The slower economy also boosted bankruptcy totals for Western Washington in the same

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