GF Business News: Mortgage Rates … Body Shop and Walmart Phones



US employers added 559,000 jobs in May, an improvement from April’s slow growth, but still indicates that many companies are struggling to find enough workers as the economy quickly recovers from the pandemic recession. Job growth last month exceeded the revised April figure of 278,000. The unemployment rate fell to 5.8% from 6.1%. The speed of recovery from the pandemic recession has caught employers by surprise and sparked struggles with hiring.

A new monthly survey shows economies in nine Midwest and Plains states remain strong after a devastating global pandemic, but an index measuring inflation has soared to record highs. Creighton University’s Central American business conditions data released on Tuesday was 72.3 in May, slightly below its all-time high in April of 73.9. Any result above 50 on the survey index suggests growth. The monthly survey covers Dakota and Minnesota.

Mortgage rates have not changed this week. The underlying 30-year home loan remained below 3% on the back of continued positive signs of economic recovery from the pandemic recession. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reports that the average 30-year rate rose to 2.99% from 2.95% last week. The 15-year loan rate remained unchanged from the previous week and amounted to 2.27%.

The Labor Market Information Center has released the latest online job report, a monthly online job overview and active resumes from the North Dakota Employment Service Labor Exchange system. In May 2021, North Dakota had a total of 17,938 open and available online jobs, up 9.4 percent (+1,542) from the previous month. In Region 4, which is made up of Grand Forks … Walsh … Nelson … and Pembina, there are 2,148 vacancies.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has reached out to unemployed residents to put them in touch with employers currently hiring. Since March, as part of the Good Jobs Now campaign, employees have called over 30,000 Minnesotans who are currently receiving unemployment benefits.

About 450 Xcel Energy customers in the Mayville area remain without power due to equipment problems at the substation. The network outage was reported Friday night after a thunderstorm swept across the area. Company officials said about 1,600 families in Mayville and nearby Portland were affected. Officials say electricity will be restored to all consumers Sunday afternoon.

MDU Resources Group Inc. from North Dakota re-entered the Fortune 500 after a ten-year hiatus. The energy and construction company, headquartered in Bismarck, is ranked 486th in the annual list of the country’s 500 largest public companies. MDU is the only North Dakota company on the list.

North Dakota Department of Transportation Director Bill Panos has been named President of the Western Association of State Road Transportation Officials. Panos previously served as vice president of the association. The group provides a forum for the exchange of ideas between the various transport departments.

Altru hopes to appoint a new CEO by the end of the year. The board of directors announced this week that the search is officially underway. Interim CEO Dave Molman will remain in office until a replacement is found.

Choice Health & Fitness and Altru have announced a partnership. The Choice Health & Fitness Productivity Team and Personal Trainers will use facilities at the Altru Performance Center to facilitate complementary athletic development and training programs. Mike Orr, general manager of Choice Health & Fitness, says “the partnership allows us to continue our team-based approach to caring for local athletes with direct access to Altru nutritionists, physical therapists, athletic trainers, chiropractors and physicians.”

This week, the Grand Forks Planning and Zoning Commission gave preliminary approval to a request to change the zoning of the 702 North Washington site. The former batch of used cars is intended for a car workshop. Moving from limited business B-1 to general business B-3 still requires board approval.

The first phase of the ND Rent Help program was implemented this week, replacing the government’s Emergency Rent Bridge. The expanded program can now help higher-income households for a longer period of time, according to the North Dakota Department of Human Services. Eligibility has been increased from 60% of the Regional Median Income (AMI) to 80% of the AMI, which translates to an annual income of up to $ 80,000 for a family of four.

Walmart is introducing an app for the phones of its store employees that allows them to complete a variety of tasks, from digital time to work, to helping them find products and answering customer questions. It also has a Push-to-Talk feature for direct communication with colleagues. As part of the launch, the country’s largest private employer says it plans to offer more than 740,000 store employees a free new Samsung smartphone by the end of the year.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved a Title 18 exception request for the Ultra Blazer® in an emergency, giving North Dakota growers a new tool to tackle glyphosate-resistant water hemp in sugar beets. Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goering said. “This exemption gives growers a new product when early treatments are ineffective.” The exemption allows applications for sugar beet fields in Barnes, Cass, Cavalier, Grand Forks, Pembina, Ransome, Richland, Sargent, Steel, Trail and Walsh counties.

Amazon said Wednesday that it will be hosting its annual Prime Day for two days this June, the earliest sales event ever held. Amazon usually holds Prime Day in July. Last year, Amazon pushed Prime Day back to October due to the pandemic and used the sale to start its holiday shopping early. Prime Day will take place this year. from June 21 to June 22.

Minnesota Community and Technology College has announced that UMN Crookston Program Director and Criminal Justice Faculty member Dr. Matthew Loesley will be founding dean of the first School of Applied Technology at Minnesota Community and Technical College. Loesley will be based in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, but will serve several programs on M state campuses, including Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Moorhead and Wadena.


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