Business News: GF Lyons redevelopment…Altru & EGF revitalization

Applications for US unemployment benefits rose last week, but remain relatively near historically low levels, reflecting few layoffs across the economy. Jobless claims rose by 23,000 to 248,000 last week, the Labor Department reported. The four-week average for claims, which compensates for weekly volatility, fell by 10,500 to 243,250.

Fueled by pay gains, solid hiring and enhanced savings, Americans sharply ramped up their spending at retail stores last month in a sign that many consumers remain unfazed by rising inflation. Retail sales jumped 3.8% from December to January, the Commerce Department said Wednesday, a much bigger gain than economists had expected. Though inflation helped boost that figure, most of January’s gain reflected more purchases, not higher prices.

Average long-term US mortgage rates jumped again this week, approaching levels not seen since 2019. The average rate on a 30-year loan reached 3.92%, up from 3.69% the previous week, mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday. The last time the 30-year rate was higher was in May of 2019 when it reached 3.99%. Consumer prices are up 7.5% and home prices have risen twice that in the past year.

Demolition is underway to pave way for the downtown Lyons redevelopment project. The mixed use development on North 4th Street will include commercial space for boutique shops… restaurant/bar…and professional office space on the first floor. Floors two through six will consist of some 120 market rate apartments. Construction is expected to begin in May with a 2025 completion date.

Steven Weiser, MD, president of Altru Health System, was named chair of the North Dakota Hospital Association (NDHA) and installed on January 28, 2022. As the chair of the 11-member Board of Directors, Weiser becomes the top-elected official of NDHA, which has been representing North Dakota’s hospitals and health systems since its founding in 1934.

University of North Dakota alumni and friends made more than 450 gifts totaling $1.3 million to the UND Alumni Association & Foundation (UNDAAF) during Giving Hearts Day on February 10. The $1.3 million is a record for a UND day of giving.

East Grand Forks is working with the Northwest Minnesota Foundation to help secure a series of grants and loans to target the Highway 220 corridor. The money would assist in the revitalization of buildings and facades. The goal is to raise $500,000 for grants…$500,000 in state loans…and $500,000 dollars in EDA matching funds.

Walmart muscled through rising inflation, surging costs related to COVID-19 sick leave and snarled global supply chains to put up strong fiscal fourth quarter results. The Arkansas-based company reported Thursday that its quarterly profit reached $3.56 billion, or $1.28 per share. Walmart is one of the first major retailers to report fourth-quarter fiscal results, which include the critical holiday shopping period, and is a major barometer of spending.

A Grand Forks-based UAS company will award two $1,000 scholarships each year for the UND’s UAS Program for five years. With offices in Grand Forks, Fargo, Watford City and Minneapolis, ISight Drone Services operates across the country and beyond. By supporting students currently enrolled at UND, Kenville’s goal is to expand ISight’s operations by offering jobs to highly qualified people already in North Dakota.

Mike Holmes has been named executive vice president of research & development for the Lignite Energy Council and retains his role as technical advisor of the Lignite Research Program under the North Dakota Industrial Commission (NDIC). Holmes joined the Lignite Council in 2017 following a more than 15 years career with the Energy & Environmental Research Center in Grand Forks. In his previous role, Holmes oversaw fossil energy research areas.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation (NDDOT) announced today the addition of 10 languages ​​to the online driver’s license knowledge testing service. The initial rollout for online knowledge tests featured English and Spanish. The new languages ​​include: Arabic…Chinese… French…Nepali…Russian…Serbian…Somali…Swahili…Turkish…and Vietnamese. The online test costs $10 and customers will need access to a computer with a keyboard, mouse, and camera to take the test;

Experts say you may be paying more for your avocado toast in the short term, and distributors may be looking beyond Mexico to guard against future supply disruptions. Mexico is negotiating security guarantees for US inspectors who certify avocados for export in western Mexico, where avocado pickers have been thrown out of work. Mexico, which currently supplies about 80% of US imports of the fruit.

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