Trade News: ND Mill… GF/EGF and Nintendo Home Sales

The U.S. hiring boom continued last month as employers added a startling 528,000 jobs despite soaring inflation and growing concern about a recession. July hiring was up from 398,000 in June. The unemployment rate fell to 3.5%. The US economy contracted in the first two quarters of 2022.

The Labor Market Information Center has updated cost of living data for North Dakota through the second quarter of 2021. Seven basic categories are tracked: food, housing, health care, transportation, childcare children, other necessities and taxes. The analysis suggests that the annual household income to cover basic needs in Grand Forks County is $23,477. The statewide average is $24,792.

The average long-term mortgage rate in the United States fell below 5% for the first time in four months this week, just after the Federal Reserve raised its main borrowing rate in an aggressive effort to rein in the inflation. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reports the 30-year rate fell to 4.99% from 5.3% last week. A year ago, the rate was 2.77%.

Home sales were steady last month in Grand Forks/East Grand Forks. The Grand Forks Area Association of Realtors reports that 83 single-family homes and townhouses were sold in July. That’s down from 90 in 2021 and 110 two years ago. The average sale price in July was $294,634.

The North Dakota Mill and Elevator reports Q4 profit of $5,016,906. Plant manager Vance Taylor says that compares to $2,065,479 for the same quarter a year ago. For the fiscal year ending June 30, the Grand Forks plant made a profit of $14.6 million. Sales totaled $473 million in FY22.

The company responsible for building the channel part of FM Area Diversion is looking for some good workers. ASN Constructors says there is an immediate need for dozens of equipment operators…workers…foreman positions…as well as management positions. At the height of construction in the coming years, more than 1,000 employees will be working on the diversion project.

More than 600 Career and Technical Education (CTE) instructors and administrators from across North Dakota are registered to attend the 51st Annual CTE Professional Development Conference in Bismarck this week. The theme for this year’s conference is “CTE Champion,” appealing to the role CTE plays in preparing students for career opportunities in North Dakota’s workforce.

The North Dakota Air National Guard announced that Chief Master Sgt. Levi Heller was selected as the new State Command Chief. Heller succeeds Chief Master Sgt. Duane Kangas, who retired in December 2021. In this new role, Heller will advise senior military leaders on matters concerning the discipline, morale, welfare, effective utilization and career progression of Airmen from the State National Guard.

Dr. Alyssa Martin has been chosen as the new director of the North Dakota Center for Distance Education (NDCDE). Dr. Martin was previously director of political services for the North Dakota School Boards Association. She takes up her new duties on August 22.

Farm and ranch production expenditures for the Plains region totaled $99.2 billion in 2021, down from $85.3 billion in 2020, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The Plains region includes North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Amazon has announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire vacuum cleaner maker iRobot for approximately $1.66 billion. The company sells its robots worldwide and is best known for the circular-shaped Roomba vacuum cleaner. Amazon said it will acquire iRobot for $61 per share in an all-cash transaction.

The maker of Banana Boat sunscreen is recalling a scalp spray because it contains traces of benzene, a chemical that can cause cancer with repeated exposure. Edgewell Personal Care Co. says benzene was detected during internal reviews of Banana Boat Hair and Scalp Spray SPF 30. Three lots of the spray are included in the recall, with lot codes 20016AF, 20084BF and 21139AF.

Nintendo’s profit in the April-June quarter rose 28% from a year earlier on healthy demand for its games, although console sales were hurt by a shortage of semiconductors . The Japanese video game maker behind the Super Mario and Pokemon franchises said it expects to sell 21 million Switch machines in the fiscal year ending March 2023.