America’s employers kept hiring vigorously in October, adding 261,000 positions, a sign the economy remains a picture of solid job growth and painful inflation. The unemployment rate rose from a five-decade low of 3.5% to a still-healthy 3.7%. Average hourly pay rose 4.7% from a year ago, a smaller year-over-year gain than in September.
Home sales slipped slightly in Grand Forks / East Grand Forks in October compared to one year ago. A total of 80 single family homes and condos were sold last month. That compares to 88 in each of the last two years. According to the Grand Forks Area Association of Realtors the average sales price in October was $264,890. The numbers do not include private sales.
The National Retail Federation, the nation’s largest retail trade group, expects that holiday sales growth this year will slow to a range of 6% to 8%, compared with the blistering 13.5% growth of a year ago. The trade group predicts that sales for the November and December period will grow to between $942.6 billion to $960.4 billion. Holiday sales have averaged gains of 4.9% over the past 10 years.
The Labor Market Information Center has calculated North Dakota cost of living data. Seven fundamental living expense categories are tracked: food, housing, health care, transportation, child care, other necessities, and taxes. In Grand Forks County a family of four needs an annual income of $70,594 to cover basic life costs. That’s $744 dollars below the statewide average.
Since electronic pull tabs were authorized during the 2017 North Dakota legislative session, the number of e-tab machines in the state has increased to approximately 4,500 devices at 800 sites – surpassing the roughly 3,300 Class III slot machines located at tribal casinos in North Dakota. Governor Burgum says he expects lawmakers to take a comprehensive look at all gaming during the 2023 session – including sports betting and e-tabs.
The Grand Forks P & Z has given preliminary approval to a zoning change from R-2 for property at 1600 4th Avenue North. United Way is looking to purchase the former Wesley United Church for a childcare center and coffee shop. The proposed PUD specifies that the coffee shop is located within the building and has no drive-thru. The city council will review the change on December 19th.
The North Dakota Department of Commerce has awarded $1,804,803 of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to 13 North Dakota Communities. The program provides financial assistance in the form of grants for public facilities, public services, housing rehabilitation, and economic development projects. Manvel was awarded $89,372 to work on the city’s sidewalks and make them ADA accessible.
Minnesota will receive $15 million from the United States Department of Agriculture to establish a revolving loan program that will support small and medium-sized meat and poultry processors. The fund will offer low-interest loans for the start-up, expansion, or operation of slaughter and value-added meat and poultry processing. Loan applications will be available in early 2023.
Volkswagen is recalling nearly 225,000 vehicles in the U.S. because the tire pressure monitoring systems may not detect air losses in all four tires at the same time. The recall covers certain 2019 Tiguan, Golf Sportswagen, Golf Alltrack, Golf R, and Audi Q3 and A3 vehicles. Also covered are some 2019 and 2020 Jetta, Golf, Atlas and Audi A3 models and some 2020-2021 Atlas Cross Sport and Atlas vehicles. Notification letters will be sent Dec. 30.
Sticker shock in youth sports is nothing new, but the onslaught of double-digit inflation across America this year has added a costly wrinkle on the path to the ballparks, swimming pools and dance studios across America. It has forced some families to scale back the number of seasons, or leagues, or sports that their kids can play in any given year, while motivating league organizers to become more creative in devising ways to keep prices down and participation up.
Starbucks’ revenue rose 3% to a record $8.41 billion in its fiscal fourth quarter as U.S. customers shrugged off higher prices on frothy drinks and snacks. The Seattle coffee giant said its same-store sales – or sales at locations open at least a year – were up 7%. That beat Wall Street’s forecasts.
As America loaded up on an estimated 600 million pounds of Halloween candy, a handful of companies are trying to make it easier to recycle all those wrappers. Mars Wrigley is sending 17,400 free bags to U.S. consumers to collect plastic wrappers and mail them to a specialty recycler. Rubicon Technologies is sending 5,000 free boxes to schools and businesses to recycle candy wrappers. Plastic wrappers are hard to recycle because they’re small, they contain food waste and they have little value.