Economic news: JDA loan… Altru & GF water meters
The number of Americans seeking unemployment assistance rose last week for a second straight week to 351,000, an increase of 16,000 from the previous week. This is a sign that the delta variant of the coronavirus may disrupt the labor market recovery, at least temporarily. Unemployment assistance claims have fallen since they surpassed 900,000 earlier this year.
Grand Forks JDA may be asked in October to approve a $ 900,000 loan as part of a development agreement for the renovation of the downtown St. John’s building. The low interest loan would be spread over 20 years at a rate of around 2%. The estimated value of the property would drop from $ 1.7 million to around $ 7 million after construction.
Sales of previously occupied homes in the United States fell in August and the pace of price growth has slowed, the latest sign that the housing market is cooling down as intense competition leaves many potential buyers on the sidelines . The National Association of Realtors reports that existing home sales fell 2% last month from July at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.88 million units. The median home price reached $ 356,700, an increase of 14.9% from August 2020.
Rising costs and shortages of building materials and labor are spilling over to the homebuilding industry, delaying construction and prompting many builders to curb the number of homes they list. Lumber futures hit their lowest level in more than a year last week after rising almost fivefold to a record high in May.
North Dakota’s eight commercial service airports recorded a total of 82,371 air passenger boardings during the month of August. This month saw a drop in passenger traffic compared to July, but remains the second highest month of air passenger demand since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of 5,836 people passed through the gates of the Grand Forks Airport. This was 2,657 more than in August 2020.
FedEx suffers from the tightening labor market. The parcel delivery company said on Tuesday its costs increased by $ 450 million in the last quarter as it paid higher wages as it became harder to find new workers and demand for shipping was increasing.
Grand Forks sales tax figures continue to exceed 2020 collections. The July payment was $ 2,489,970. So far, in 2021, the local tax is 8.61% higher than last year’s tally. With nine months on the books, Grand Forks sales tax generated $ 21,175,172.37.
Altru Health hopes to complete the sale of tax bonds to pay off existing debt and complete construction of the new hospital project. About $ 330 million would target construction and $ 200 million to refinance existing debt. The 2.79% interest rate will save over $ 26 million on the interest side alone. Construction of the new hospital is expected to resume in October after taking a hiatus during the pandemic.
Olivia Wyant, nurse at Altru Health System, receives DAISY award for extraordinary nurses. The award recognizes the extraordinary and compassionate care nurses provide to patients and families every day. Wyant, a registered nurse at the Family Birthing Center, was nominated for the award by a patient who recently gave birth. The mother spent 39 hours in labor.
Ford Motor Co. is investing $ 50 million in a new electric vehicle battery recycling business as the automaker prepares to strengthen its battery supply chain in the United States. Ford says in a statement that Redwood can recover 95% of the precious metals in electric vehicle batteries such as nickel, cobalt, lithium and copper. All of these metals could be scarce as the world shifts to electric vehicles. Ford expects 40% of its global sales to be fully electric by 2030.
Grand Forks is looking to purchase new software to read some 15,600 water meters across the city. The current program dates from 1999 and is no longer supported. The purchase of new transmitters would cost over $ 200 per unit. The software upgrade costs $ 21,784.
Supporters of a law enforcement memorial at Optimist Park in Grand Forks will re-bid for the project later this fall and winter, after initial bids exceeded estimates. The campaign raised $ 260,000 for the North Valley Law Enforcement Memorial. The only offer exceeded $ 369,000. The memorial will honor federal, Canadian, Minnesota and North Dakota law enforcement personnel who have died in the line of duty.
The European Union unveils plans that would force smartphone makers to adopt a single charging method for mobile devices. The European Commission has proposed legislation that would mandate USB-C cables for charging, a technology that many device makers have already embraced. The EU also wants to reduce the 11,000 tonnes of electronic waste thrown away by Europeans each year.
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and The Boppy Company, of Golden, Colorado, announce the recall of the Boppy Original Newborn, Boppy Preferred Newborn Loungers and Pottery Barn Kids Boppy Newborn Loungers lounge chairs. There have been eight reports of infant deaths associated with the Boppy Company Newborn Lounge Chair and this risk. Boppy has sold approximately 3.3 million of the recalled lounge chairs in children’s and big box stores nationwide and online
McDonald’s plans to “drastically” reduce plastic in its Happy Meal toys around the world by 2025. The company, which sells more than a billion toys each year, says the new target will reduce its plastic use by 90 %. The burger giant said it is working with toy companies to develop new ideas, such as three-dimensional cardboard superheroes for kids to build.