Business News: GF door-to-door sales… biorefinery plant shutdown and Acme tools

Fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week as layoffs remain at historic lows. Unemployment claims fell by 5,000 to 166,000 for the week ending April 2. The Labor Department revised the previous week’s count down to 31,000 claims. Initial jobless claims generally represent the pace of layoffs.

The Center for Labor Market Information has released the latest report on online job postings from the Job Service North Dakota Labor Exchange System. North Dakota had a total of 17,806 online job openings open and available in March 2022, a change of -9.2% (-1,794) from the prior month and +8.4% ( +1,377) compared to the same month a year ago.

The Red River biorefinery in northern Grand Forks has temporarily halted production. Company officials met with city leaders this week to discuss ongoing wastewater issues that have been a concern since the ethanol maker opened in 2020. A city spokesperson said the company plans to pay employees during downtime to ensure they can maintain the workforce. A schedule for the completion of capital improvements was not available.

Walmart employees who once unloaded the trucks now have the ability to drive them. The nation’s largest retailer has launched a training program for employees who work in its fulfillment or fulfillment centers. They will have the chance to become Certified Walmart Truck Drivers through a 12-week program. Arkansas-based Walmart also said it was raising wages for its 12,000 truck drivers. The starting range for new drivers will now be between $95,000 and $110,000.

Over 65 employers from a variety of different industries will be at the Spring 2022 Multi-Industry Career Fair sponsored by Job Service North Dakota, Leighton Broadcasting and JobsHQ. The latest online job postings report, released on April 6, 2022, indicates that there are 17,806 online job postings statewide. Region 4, which includes Grand Forks, claims 2,144 of these openings. The April 21 event will take place at the Alerus Center.

The United States Postal Service filed a notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission for a two-cent increase in the price of a First-Class Mail Forever stamp from 58 cents to 60 cents. The PRC will review the prices before they come into effect. The Postal Service is also requesting price adjustments for special service products, including certified mail, post office box rental fees, money order fees, and the cost of purchasing insurance when mailing mail. ‘an article.

Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates edged up again this week as the key 30-year lending rate hit its highest level in more than three years. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reports that the average rate on the 30-year loan this week rose to 4.72% from 4.67% last week. The average rate has jumped 1.5% over the past three months, the fastest three-month rise since May 1994.

Another steady month for home sales in Grand Forks/East Grand Forks in March. The Grand Forks Area Association of Realtors reports that 66 single-family homes… townhouses… and condos were sold in March. That compares to 79 for the same month a year ago and 50 in 2020. The average selling price was $266,373.

The North Dakota Department of Commerce approved $3.34 million in loan and venture capital funds to three companies through the North Dakota Development Fund in the first quarter of 2022. Academy of Kids Child Care Center Inc. received $89,000 to cover the cost of renovations to its center located in the Grand Forks Columbia Mall. Airtonomy Inc., a drone software company in Grand Forks, has received approval to invest up to $1 million to hire additional staff in North Dakota.

Ron Ahlstrom has joined the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation (EDC) as an Unmanned and Autonomous Sector (UAS) Developer. Ahlstrom will support the recruitment and expansion of primary sector companies in the aerospace sector. He recently retired from the US Airforce after 26 years as an aerospace and logistics supply chain manager.

Acme Tools has entered into an asset purchase agreement with West Fargo, ND, based Titan Machinery Inc. to acquire the new assets for Kubota, Cub Cadet, Grasshopper and Woods products from Fargo Tractor. Acme Tools’ current store in Fargo will initially provide sales and service for the region. Construction of a new 28,000 square foot Acme Equipment facility near the store will begin this year. Acme was founded in Grand Forks, ND in 1948.

The North Dakota Department of Insurance has released the results of an annual North Dakota auto insurance cost comparison survey. The 20 companies in the survey sell more than 80% of auto insurance purchased in the state. The list of participating companies is not an endorsement or recommendation by the department, but was chosen based on the volume of business in North Dakota.

The University of North Dakota, in conjunction with Grand Farm, will host the Space Ag 2022 conference on Thursday, April 14 from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. at UND’s Memorial Union. The conference will not only explore how we will grow food in space, but also how space technologies such as satellites can improve food production on Earth.

The River Cinema Grand Forks Comic Con returns to the Alerus Center on October 8-9. Comic Con is a treasure trove for hardcore collectors and casual fans. The event will feature comics, toys, artwork, and other miscellaneous vendors, as well as cosplay contests and more. Tickets are on sale now at the Transsystems box office and online.

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