Here is a roundup of economic news compiled by the Idaho Department of Labor in July:
- Premera Blue Cross, the Inland Northwest’s largest health plan provider, has been boosting its workforce to handle implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act next year and to support the state-run Washington Health Benefit Exchange, which begins operating in October. The Spokane office has expanded from 445 to 575 this spring and should reach 600 by the end of the year.
- Parker Motor Group in Post Falls is making big changes. The Subaru dealership will move to the former Tom Addis Dodge complex in August. The current Parker Subaru complex will become Parker Volkswagen and will open in September. The Parker Toyota dealership remains with 162 employees and 450 vehicles. The Subaru dealership has 44 employees and 150 cars, and the VW complex will have 25 people and about 100 cars.
- Aircraft Solutions LLC, an aircraft maintenance and avionics service company at the Spokane International Airport, plans to offer a passenger charter service by January as the Northwest Charter Group. Earlier this year, the company opened the private pilot training school, Northwest Flight School, with four flight instructors and five additional aircraft. The expansion will require the business to invest in even more planes and hire up to six pilots. Currently, the company employs 24 people.
North Central Idaho
- The Idaho Department of Labor office in Orofino held a workshop July 3 for those seeking jobs at the National Guard Youth Challenge Program in Pierce. Participants learned how to write a job application narrative and apply for government jobs. The boot-camp style school for students at risk of dropping out of high school is gradually hiring the 50 workers it needs for its opening in January.
- Opening: Fairfield Inn and Suites Hotel with 20 employees, 51 rooms, 23 suites and meeting space across Pullman Road from the University of Idaho in Moscow.
- Which Wich Superior Sandwiches is opening its first Idaho restaurant in Meridian in July. The national franchise will locate in The Village at Meridian.
- Micron Technology Inc. announced its first profit in more than two years. The $43 million third quarter profit contrasts with the $1.7 billion in losses in the past seven quarters.
- Albertsons LLC announced it has hired 500 new employees for its Idaho operation since it took control from Supervalu earlier this year. Most are front line employees such as cashiers.
- Two large job fairs were held in Ada County last month. Xerox Corp. and Elks Rehabilitation Hospital drew more than 300 job seekers to their fairs at local Department of Labor offices.
- Renovation of Minidoka Memorial Hospital was completed ahead of schedule and $275,000 under budget. The remodel cost $6.2 million. “While not a massive amount of money by hospital standards, the savings still comes in handy,” Administrator Carl Hanson said. Hanson was not sure what created the cost reduction but praised Kreizenbach LLC of Boise, the general contractor.
- The College of Southern Idaho has hired a consultant to organize the nationwide search for a new president. Information gathered from two different sessions with the public on its preferences will be used to develop a job description.
- Chobani’s first property tax payment to Twin Falls County was $5.7 million, nearly a million dollars more than the initial payment the Urban Renewal District must make on improvements financed for the Greek yogurt production plant. Next year’s payment on the improvements will be only about $2.7 million, meaning the surplus for the county will be even greater.
- ATCO Logistics is hiring 50 new workers after only a year making modular office and living units for the oil exploration industry at its Pocatello plant. Demand has been strong, and ATCO is hiring plumbers, HVAC specialists and electricians. Information on the jobs is online at www.atcocareers.com
- Preston businessman Brandon Roberts is building a 10,500-square-foot strip mall on the south end of Preston to house several retailers.
- Scientech Inc. plans to build a new complex at Snake River Landing. The final site plan has been submitted to the city of Idaho Falls. Scientech currently employs around 200 workers and plans to add 148 more once the complex is completed.
- The Idaho Falls Post Register reported that Rafter H. Construction in Rexburg was awarded a $41 million contract to build an educational training facility in Riverton, Wyo. The construction company will build the Wind River Job Corps Center, an energy-themed seven-building campus. Students who attend the campus will study energy production, heavy equipment mechanics, welding and health technologies. No construction dates were given.
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