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Economy

Associated Press

NEW YORK — U.S. newspaper industry revenue fell last year, as increases in circulation revenue weren’t high enough to make up for shrinking demand for print advertising, an industry trade group said Friday.

The Newspaper Association of America said revenue fell 2.6 percent to $37.6 billion in 2013.

Circulation revenue rose 3.7 percent to $10.9 billion, the second straight year of growth.

Advertising revenue fell 6.5 percent to $23.6 billion. read more »

 

By ALAN FRAM, Associated Press 

WASHINGTON — A Senate Democratic bill gradually increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 hourly would require private businesses to spend $15 billion more in salaries when it takes full effect in 2017, the Congressional Budget Office estimated Thursday.

The nonpartisan budget office’s estimate could be used as ammunition by Republicans, who largely oppose the measure because they say it would drive up business costs. read more »

 

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell this week for the second straight week as the spring home-buying season begins.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday that the average rate for the 30-year loan fell to 4.27 percent from 4.34 percent last week. The average for the 15-year mortgage eased to 3.33 percent from 3.38 percent.

Mortgage rates have risen about a full percentage point since hitting record lows about a year ago. read more »

 

OLYMPIA – A small improvement in the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate began in February and was matched in March, according to revised and preliminary estimates by economists with the state’s Employment Security Department.

Earlier this year, economists estimated Washington’s February unemployment rate at 6.4 percent. A subsequent revision reduced that rate to 6.3 percent, which was equaled in March.

The pace of hiring also has quickened. Washington employers added an estimated 6,700 new jobs in March. read more »

 

By Ginette Dalton  read more »

 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment increased from September 2012 to September 2013 in 286 of the 334 largest U.S. counties, including a pair in the South Sound.

Pierce County, per the BLS, ended last September with roughly 274,000 jobs, a 2.1 percent increase from the same month in 2012. That’s good for 114th in job growth among the nation’s largest counties.

Thurston’s year over year job growth rate of 2.3 percent — ending September 2013 with about 100,100 jobs, was good for 97th. read more »

 

Every day, startups and entrepreneurs across Washington develop exciting new products and services that might benefit consumers. Of course there are no guarantees. Any two-guys-in-a-garage idea could lead to brilliant commercial success or miserable failure, but there is no way to know until the new product or service is tested in the real-world marketplace. All these would-be profitable business owners face a basic problem (unless they are already wealthy) - raising enough money to get started.

The people behind any startup are usually untried and hold few assets, so they often can’t secure a bank loan, and their nascent project isn’t big enough to incorporate and launch a conventional IPO. One answer is crowdfunding, leveraging the connecting power of the internet to collect small contributions from a wide variety of people at very low transaction costs. The method can be used to finance nonprofit or for-profit projects. Either way, using crowdfunding to raise money is popular, simple and voluntary. read more »

 

Office supplies chain Staples announced plans Thursday to shut down more than 10 percent of its stores, according to an Associated Press story. The company will close up to 225 of its 1,846 stores in the U.S. and Canada by the end of 2015, the AP reports.

Though Staples is the nation’s largest office-supply company, nearly half of its sales are online, and the company said the store closures are part of its plan to reduce costs and become more efficient.

The AP report said the company, which has already closed dozens of stores in the past year, did not identify which additional stores will be closed. read more »

 

OLYMPIA — Washington now has more jobs than before the start of the Great Recession, according to economists with the state’s Employment Security Department.

Employment Security and the U.S. Department of Labor recently completed an annual statistical update, called benchmarking, which adjusted past estimates with jobs data from employers’ quarterly tax filings.

The latest benchmarking indicates the state didn’t lose as many jobs as originally thought and, furthermore, has more than recovered those job losses. Previous data suggested the state lost about 205,000 jobs from February 2008 through February 2010. Economists now believe the losses were around 189,000. read more »

 
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