America’s employers extended a streak of robust hiring in March, adding 431,000 jobs in a sign of the economy’s resilience in the face of a still-destructive pandemic, Russia’s war against Ukraine and the highest inflation in 40 years. The government’s report showed that last month’s job growth helped shrink the unemployment rate to 3.6%.
An inflation gauge closely monitored by the Federal Reserve jumped 6.4% in February compared with a year ago, with sharply higher prices for food, gasoline and other necessities squeezing Americans’ finances. The figure reported by the Commerce Department was the largest year-over-year rise since January 1982.
Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates rose again this week as the key 30-year loan rate breached 4.5% and attained its highest level since the end of 2018. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported that the average rate on the 30-year loan this week rose to 4.67% from 4.42% last week.
Grand Forks County posted an unemployment rate of 2.5% in February. That was down .4 from January. According to North Dakota Job Service a total of 950 people in the county were in search of work during the month. The statewide jobless rate was 3.1%
The cost of a taxi ride in Grand Forks is going up. The city council has given preliminary approval to raising the minimum fare rate at $10. The max fares would also climb from $3 to $6 with each succeeding 1/8 mile climbing to 50 cents. Cab drivers say rising gas prices and labor costs are behind the request. Rates were last reviewed in 2008.
The Grand Forks Park Board this week will considering hiring the firm Berry Dunn/GreenPlay to conduct a study on a proposed indoor sports and aquatics facility. The RFP cited a 300,000 square foot facility with turf large enough for soccer…football…and lacrosse. On the aquatics side is an eight lane swimming and diving area – as well as a 25 meter lap pool.
The 2022 North Dakota Travel Industry Conference will be in Grand Forks, April 25-27, at the Alerus Center. The conference annually attracts more than 200 travel professionals.
The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is alerting consumers to avoid eating Ocean Mist Farms brand Romaine Hearts with coding “22RHDM2L” and a harvest date of “MAR 10,” grown in Coachella, CA. The MDA Laboratory found Cyclospora in the product during routine surveillance sampling. Customers who purchased the product should discard the product and not eat it. No illnesses associated with this product.
Got a spare dime? Coins are in short supply again. Retailers, laundromats and other businesses that rely on coins want Americans to empty their piggy banks and look under couch cushions for extra change and “get coin moving.” A group of trade associations is asking the Treasury Department for more help convincing Americans to get coins back in circulation. The slowdown is hitting people who don’t have an ability to pay for items electronically.
Walmart will no longer sell cigarettes in some of its stores though tobacco sales can be a significant revenue generator. Walmart is not the first national retail chain to cut off cigarette sales even on a trial basis – but it is the largest. Target ended cigarette sales in 1996. CVS Health did the same in 2014.
Three awards are given each year to recognize artists the seven-county region of the Northwest Minnesota Arts Council. Ross Hier of Crookston will be awarded the Northwest Artist of the Year Award for Visual Arts. Philip McKenzie of Thief River Falls will be awarded the Northwest Arts Advocate of the Year Award. LaVonne Forsberg of Thief River Falls will receive the Northwest Star Award. These awards will be presented April 27.