Kitsap Business and Economy

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Archive for May, 2011

Friday stocks slide as Gap Inc. plunges, retailers flail

Friday, May 20th, 2011

So far today, Dow has slipped 38 points, now at 12,567.

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks slid Friday on signs that U.S. consumer demand may be weakening and fears about the Greek debt crisis.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 78 points, or 0.6 percent, to 12,527 in afternoon trading.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 index fell 9, or 0.7 percent, to 1,334. The Nasdaq composite fell 22, or 0.8 percent, to 2,801.
Gap Inc. plunged 17 percent after reporting late Thursday that its costs for raw materials rose faster than expected, hurting its quarterly profit. The national clothing chain also cut its forecast for what it would earn in the full year.
Gap’s sales have been sluggish, a worrying sign for investors who are counting on shoppers to lead a recovery in consumer spending. Gap’s results pushed down other clothing companies who have been hit hard by the rising price of cotton and shoppers who are reluctant to splurge. Four of the five worst-performing stocks in the S&P 500 Friday were retailers. Urban Outfitters Inc. fell 5 percent. Ralph Lauren Corp., Limited Brands Inc., and VF Corp. also fell.
Other retailers have also been struggling. On Thursday Big Lots Inc. fell 9 percent after news reports that it had decided not to sell itself to private equity firms.
One exception to the retailer gloom was Barnes & Noble Inc. The bookseller jumped 29 percent after announcing late Thursday that Liberty Media Corp. had offered to buy the company for $1 billion in cash.


Working on the 2010 census data ….

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

…. and it looks like Kitsap County has had little change in racial and ethnic makeup over the past 10 years. In 2010, 83 percent of Kitsap residents were white; 6 percent Hispanic; 5 percent Asian; 3 percent black; and 2 percent Native American.

The most significant change, and there wasn’t much, was the growing percentage of Hispanics in Kitsap County, from 4 percent in 2000 to 6 percent in 2010. In real numbers, 9,609 Hispanics lived in Kitsap County in 2000, and in 2010 that number had grown to 15,686.

More coming in a few days as I continue to sift through data.

Rachel Pritchett, reporter
475-3783


Washington added jobs again in April

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Readers,

This news release from the Washington Employment Security Department. Rachel Pritchett

OLYMPIA – Washington’s black-and-blue economy continued its comeback in April.
The state added an estimated 5,800 jobs last month, while the unemployment rate dipped from 9.2 to 9.1 percent.
Since April 2010, Washington has added an estimated 41,500 jobs.
“We’re beginning to see job growth pick up some real momentum,” said Employment Security Commissioner Paul Trause. “It’s tough to not feel optimistic about where we’re going.”
Industries that posted gains in April were construction, up 2,400; professional and business services, up 1,700; manufacturing, up 1,200; retail trade, up 900; transportation, warehousing and utilities, up 900; information, up 900; education and health services, up 900; financial activities, up 500; and wholesale trade, up 200.
Jobs were lost in government, down 2,500; other services, down 800; and leisure and hospitality, down 500.
An estimated 307,737 people (not seasonally adjusted) in Washington were unemployed and looking for work in April, and 217,038 people received unemployment benefits from Washington.
Employment Security is a partner in the statewide WorkSource system, which offers a variety of employment and training services for job seekers, including free help with interviewing skills, résumés and job referrals. WorkSource also can help employers recruit and screen for qualified workers, apply for employment tax breaks and qualify for subsidized employee training.
Locations of local WorkSource offices are listed online at www.go2worksource.com. Assistance also is available by phone at 877-872-5627.

In addition, more than 22,000 job openings are posted online at www.go2worksource.com.


Wednesday stocks edge up after 3-day sag

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

Dow now at 12,807 or so, midday.

NEW YORK (AP) — Energy and materials companies are pushing stocks higher as prices for oil and other commodities rose, but mixed earnings reports from retailers are tempering gains.
Oil rose to nearly $100 a barrel because of a weaker dollar, sending energy stocks in the S&P 500 up the most of the 10 industry groups in the index.
The Dow Jones industrial average is up 20 points, or 0.2 percent, at 12,500. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index is up 6 points, or 0.4 percent, at 1,334.
Strong earnings from Dell Inc. helped push the technology-focused Nasdaq composite index up 14 points, or 0.5 percent, at 2,797.
Staples Inc. plunged 19 percent after the office-supply company reported sales that were weaker than investors were expecting. The company also lowered its full-year earnings forecast.


HP drags down Tuesday Dow

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

At midday, Dow was at 12,443, down 105 points

NEW YORK (AP) — Tech giant Hewlett Packard dragged the Dow Jones industrial average lower on Tuesday. Worries over the economic growth also weighed on stocks and drove bond yields to their lowest levels this year.
Hewlett Packard Co., the world’s largest technology company by revenue, lowered its earnings outlook for the rest of the year. The company expects weaker sales of personal computers. HP’s stock fell 9 percent, more than any other company in the Dow average.
Economic reports also raised concerns about the economy’s strength. The Federal Reserve said U.S. factories produced fewer goods in April for the first time in 10 months. The Commerce Department said new home building plunged. Apartment construction plummeted more than 28 percent.
The two reports drove traders into U.S. government bonds, pushing yields to their lowest level this year. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note sank to 3.10 percent. When bond prices rise, their yields fall.
“There’s a high degree of caution right now,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Harris Private Bank in Chicago. “People are worried about big picture issues that need to be resolved.”
In early afternoon trading, the Dow is down 105 points, or 0.8 percent, to 12,443. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index is down 6 points, or 0.4 percent, to 1,324. The Nasdaq composite is down 13 points, or 0.5 percent, to 2,769.


Treasure trove of lost treasures going to public auction

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

This notice from the Washington Department of Revenue. If I wasn’t going to be here, I’d be there, just because it sounds kind of fun. — Rachel Pritchett

OLYMPIA – Thousands of items from unclaimed safe deposit boxes go up for auction Wednesday.
Jewelry, precious metals and collectibles are among 2,900 lots of unclaimed property treasures up for auction at James G. Murphy, Inc., 18226 – 68th Ave. NE, Kenmore beginning at 9 a.m. on May 18 and 19.  The auction will continue each day until all lots for that day are auctioned off.  Interested parties can preview items from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and Tuesday, or online at www.murphyauction.com. Online bids can be made during the auction.
An 1846 US Navy Powder Flask and sports memorabilia, including a 1989 Barry Sanders rookie card, and cards autographed by Michael Jordon and Tony Gwyn, are among other items turned over to the Department of Revenue after banks and credit unions lose contact with owners and have not received rental fees for at least five years. The Department seeks out owners but by law must auction off the property within five years of receipt.
Anyone who recognizes property as their own can still claim it, but only up until 5 p.m. on May 17. After that, the property will be auctioned off although the claimants will still be entitled to the proceeds at any time in the future. Potential claimants should email the Department immediately at ucp@dor.wa.gov and identify the unclaimed property to be claimed.
In addition to safe deposit contents, unclaimed property includes uncashed payroll checks, savings and checking accounts, and stocks and bonds. Each fall more unclaimed property is turned over to the Department. An online searchable database and claims system makes it easy to check for and claim property. The database is available at ClaimYourCash.org.


Here’s the Boeing 737 story I was able to piece together

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Readers,

In case you missed it this morning at www.kitsapsun.com, here is the link to my story about last week’s Port of Bremerton meeting on the 737 to which the media was not invited. I was able to piece together a story Monday, based on attendees’ description of what went on. Also, find below some conclusions I found about Kitsap County’s workforce that I didn’t have room to put in the story.

Thank you,

Rachel Pritchett, reporter

http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2011/may/16/leaders-meet-to-keep-737-plant-in-state-and-in/

Kitsap County’s workforce
According to statistics gather by the Washington Department of Employment Security …

The Kitsap County workforce has about 5 percent more members with some college compared to the state average.
The Kitsap County workforce has roughly 2 percent more members with associates’ degrees compared to the state average.
The Kitsap County workforce has roughly 9 percent more members with some college compared to the U.S. average.
The Kitsap County workforce has roughly 4 percent more members with associates’ degrees compared to the U.S. average.
The Kitsap County workforce has about 4 percent fewer members with a high school diploma or GED than the U.S. average.


Monday stocks closer lower for second day

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Dow settled at 12,807, minus 3 points.

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks closed lower for a second day, dragged down by technology companies and concerns about Europe’s debts.
European finance ministers approved $110 billion in rescue loans to Portugal on Monday, but have yet to decide on another rescue package for Greece.
The arrest of the head of the IMF could make solving Greece’s problems more difficult.
Technology companies sustained the largest losses. Yahoo! Inc., Amazon.com Inc. fell by more than 4 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 47 points, or 0.4 percent, to close at 12,548. The S&P 500 fell 8 points, or 0.6 percent, to 1,329. The Nasdaq fell 46, or 1.6 percent, to 2,782.
More than two shares fell for every one that rose on the New York Stock Exchange. Trading volume was 3.5 billion shares.


Finally, Kitsap gas prices turn downward …

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Gas was going for the princely sum of $4.04 per gallon of unleaded Monday. That’s nevertheless cheaper than it was last week at its height of $4.06 average per gallon of unleaded and signals the start of a downward trend. Read on …

The Associated press
Drivers are starting to see a little relief at the gas pump just ahead of the summer driving season.
The average price for a gallon of regular was $3.955 nationally on Monday. That’s down about 3 cents from Friday, but still nearly 14 cents more than it was a month ago, according to AAA, Wright Express and the Oil Price Information Service.
Motorists in about two dozen states are paying more than the national average, and in 13 states the pump price is above $4 a gallon. Analysts expect prices to continue to fall across the country, perhaps as much as a quarter or more by Memorial Day.
Oil prices rocketed up 34 percent from mid-February through early May on fears that supplies could be disrupted because of uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa. Those fears have begun to abate as supplies continue to flow from the oil-rich region.
Traders also are more optimistic that Mississippi River flooding will not seriously interfere with operations at Gulf Coast refineries. The Army Corps of Engineers opened two massive gates at the Morganza spillway last weekend in an effort to protect Baton Rouge, La., and New Orleans from floodwaters.
In addition, gasoline supplies have remained ample as Americans have cut back on driving because of high gas prices.
Tom Kloza, publisher and chief oil analyst at OPIS, predicted pump prices will range between $3.25 a gallon and $3.75 a gallon by mid-June, with the biggest declines in regions that don’t rely on supplies from Gulf Coast refineries, such as the Midwest and the Rocky Mountains.


Look for my story soon on the Boeing 737 effort

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Readers,

I am working on a story now about new efforts by the Port of Bremerton and other local governmental entities to convince The Boeing Co. to stay in Washington, should it decide to build a new version of the 737. Stay tuned.

Rachel Pritchett, 475-3783