Oregon rate unchanged
SALEM — Oregon’s unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 4.2 percent in November from 4.3 percent in October, remaining near the U.S. unemployment rate of 4.1 percent in November.
“Oregon’s low unemployment rate and other positive labor force measures indicate there’s a shrinking pool of available job seekers,” said Nick Beleiciks, Oregon’s state employment economist. “Businesses are having difficulty finding applicants, and that has slowed Oregon’s job growth in the second half of this year.”
Pacific jobless rate up 0.5%
LONG BEACH — Pacific County’s jobless rate ticked upward by half a percentage point between October and November 2017, to 6.5 percent, according to the latest report from the Washington State Employment Security Department.
Despite the increase, the county’s jobless rate was the lowest in any November since at least 1990, reflecting Western Washington’s generally favorable economic conditions. The state’s unemployment rate in November was 4.5 percent on a not-seasonally adjusted basis. That was the lowest in any November in 20 years.
BOP hikes dividend
ABERDEEN — Pacific Financial Corp., holding company for Bank of the Pacific, said it increased the annual cash dividend by $0.02 to $0.25 per share to holders of common stock. The dividend was payable on Jan. 8.
“Our growing franchise is generating solid profitability, and we are pleased that our financial results have again allowed us to increase our annual cash dividend,” said Denise Portmann, president and chief executive officer. “We continue to be committed to providing attractive returns to our shareholders and we appreciate their loyalty.”
Bank of the Pacific, as of Sept. 30, 2017, had total assets of $921 million. It operates 15 branches in the communities of Grays Harbor, Pacific, Whatcom, Skagit, Clark and Wahkiakum counties in Washington, and three branches in Clatsop County.
WA, OR added 181,000 residents
LONG BEACH — Washington recorded the 4th highest population growth in the nation in 2017, adding 124,089 residents, a 1.7 percent increase. Both in numeric and percentage terms, the increases ranked the state in the top 10 in the nation for population increase. Much of the growth has been concentrated in the metropolitan Puget Sound region, which continues to drive the state’s economic growth, according to the pro-business consortium Opportunity Washington.
Oregon was 10th in percentage population growth from 2016 to 2017, growing 1.4 percent to 4,142,776 residents, adding about 57,000 to its population in the year. Since the 2010 Census, Oregon has added nearly 312,000 residents.
In percentage terms, Idaho was the fastest-growing state in 2017, growing by 2.2 percent, but out of the top 10 in numeric growth. Adding 399,734 residents, Texas came in first in numeric population growth and seventh in percentage growth, up 1.7 percent.
Energy for agriculture
LONG BEACH — For more information, or to get started with an application for a Rural Energy for America Program grant a workshop, “Sustainable Energy in Agriculture,” is set for Feb. 6 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Long Beach Cranberry Museum, 907 Pioneer Road.
For more information or the RSVP, write Christine Cooley at ChristineC@PierceCD.org
Granite Works address
ASTORIA — Vancouver Granite Works is located at 415 W. Marine Dr., having acquired Astoria Granite Works. An erroneous address was reported in last month’s Coast River Business Journal.
Astor Place wins assisted living award
ASTORIA — Astor Place has been selected as one of the 2018 Best of Assisted Living Award Winners on SeniorAdvisor.com, the largest ratings and reviews site for senior care and services in North America and Canada.
SeniorAdvisor.com is in their fifth year of hosting the Best of Senior Living Awards. SeniorAdvisor.com’s Best of 2018 Award winners represent the best of the best of in-home care, assisted living, and other senior living providers, based on the online reviews written by seniors and their families. This exclusive designation honors the top one percent of senior care providers across the U.S. and Canada.
The annual SeniorAdvisor.com Best of Awards tabulates over 150,000 family created reviews to find the highest quality care providers for this honor. Of the nearly 45,000 communities currently listed on SeniorAdvisor.com, just over 1,600 were recognized with an award.
Astor Place regularly receives exceptionally positive reviews from their senior customers and their families like this one: “When my mother and I first walk in, we knew this was the place. It’s very inviting and feels like home.”
Magazine ranks local destinations
SEASIDE — River Inn at Seaside is included in the “100 Best fan-favorite destinations” in Oregon for the second year in a row, according to Seaside Lodging LLC.
River Inn at Seaside was ranked 49 out of 100 Oregon destinations by Oregon Business Magazine. The media firm sifted through 38,000 online reviews based on customer satisfaction. Destination include hotels, national parks, and other tourism destinations.
“We’re excited to receive this recognition on service,” said Masudur Khan, Seaside Lodging’s managing director.
Other local businesses ranked in the top 100 include Warrenton’s High Life Adventures (number 6), Columbia River Maritime Museum (37), Hallmark Resort & Spa in Cannon Beach (47), Tolovana Inn (98).
WA issues 2018 tax rates
OLYMPIA — The Washington State Employment Security Department has issued 2018 tax rate notices to employers, with updated information available at www.esd.wa.gov/employer-taxes/determining-your-tax-rates.
Tax rates in all 40 rate classes remained the same as in 2017, ranging from 0.10 to 5.7 percent (not counting delinquency taxes). About 81 percent of employers will move into a lower rate class or stay the same in 2018.
• 25 percent of Washington employers will have a lower tax rate in 2018, 56 percent will remain the same, and 19 percent will move to a higher rate class.
• The average tax rate will decrease from an estimated 1.21 percent in 2017 to an estimated 1.10 percent in 2018. The average total tax paid per employee will decline by $15 to $215 per year.
• About 41 percent of all taxable employers are in rate class 1, taxed at 0.10 percent. Ninety percent of employers in rate class 1 have five or fewer employees.
• The experience-rated portion of the 2018 unemployment tax (paid by rate classes 2 and higher) will be based on benefit payouts from July 2013 through June 2017.
• Unemployment tax collections are estimated to decrease from $1.06 billion in 2017 to about $952 million in 2018.
Employers will pay unemployment taxes on the first $47,300 of each employee’s earnings in 2018. For an employee earning $47,300 or more, the total tax for the year will range from $61 (employers in rate class 1) to $2,706 (rate class 40).