Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Business Briefs

Craters visits boosted local economy

Visitors to Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve contributed more than $6 million to local economies and supported 96 jobs in 2010, according to a recent report issued by the National Park Service. Statewide, visitors to Idaho's six national monuments and historic sites contributed more than $20 million to local economies and supported 312 jobs. Nationally, visitors to the National Park System contributed more than $31 billion to local economies and supported 258,000 jobs.

Most of the spending/jobs figures are related to lodging, food, and beverage service (52 percent) followed by other retail (29 percent), entertainment/amusements (10 percent), gas and local transportation (7 percent) and groceries (2 percent).

The entire National Park Service report which includes information on visitor spending by park and by state, is online at Click Economic Benefits to Local Communities from National Park Visitation and Payroll, 2010.

Boca opens in Ketchum

Shawn and Alyson Tierney opened Boca restaurant on Feb. 29 at 131 Washington Ave. S. in Ketchum, in the space that previously housed Sego. According to a news release from the restaurant, an interior redesign by Charles Stuhlberg Gallery combined with art on display from Gallery de Novo has created an atmosphere that is fun, vibrant and energetic.

The Tierneys are describing Boca as "Latin freestyle"—a concept that they say pulls from the distinct flavors, colors and sensations of the Latin world, including Spain and Portugal, South and Central America, Mexico, Cuba and Puerto Rico.

Power announces new executive positions

Hailey-based Power Engineers has announced that it will implement a series of changes to its executive organizational structure during the first quarter of 2012.

Tim Ostermeier will serve as Power's new chief operating officer. Ostermeier will focus on managing the company with regard to business planning and execution, financial forecasting, risk management and quality assurance. He will also assume some operational executive management duties previously handled by CEO Jack Hand. Ostermeier has been with Power for more than 18 years, and has been instrumental in guiding the company's largest division.

Bill Hansen will replace Ostermeier as executive vice president of Power Delivery. He will be responsible for overseeing all Power Delivery production business units, business development and associate support.

Bret Moffett has been designated as chief administrative officer. Power created the CAO position to formalize the responsibilities that Moffett held for a significant period of time during his tenure as executive vice president of operations. Throughout his career at Power, Moffett executed a wide range of assignments, from software engineering to project management.

"These changes are important for Power," President and CEO Hand stated. "Power has been fortunate enough to have had significant growth over the last 10 years, and this change is just another step our management team is taking to maintain a strong focus on return on investment."

Jobs picture not as dark as estimated

Revised employment figures for 2010 and 2011 indicate the recession was not as hard on Idaho workers as originally estimated, and new January 2012 unemployment estimates reinforce the state's continued economic improvement.

New figures revised by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics based on more recent population estimates and employment data show thousands more Idahoans were working during the past two years and fewer were unemployed. That dropped the average unemployment rate for both years a half percentage point to 8.7 percent in 2010 and 8.8 percent in 2011.

However, the new estimates also indicate Idaho is pulling out of the recession more slowly than other states. While Idaho's 2010 average jobless rate ranked 28th among the states, the 8.8 percent rate for 2011 ranked 31st.

At no time during the recession did unemployment in Idaho exceed 9 percent, well below original estimates that put the monthly rate at or above 9 percent for 20 of the 24 months. Neither did it exceed the national rate, maintaining a string of more than 11 years that the state rate has been below the nation's

Total employment has exceeded 700,000 for the past 12 months, and unemployment, originally thought to have peaked at 74,000 last winter, never got above 69,000 during the recession and its aftermath.

While the year-over-year job loss at 7.4 percent in mid-2009 remains the worst in Idaho since World War II, the revised employment figures do not approach unemployment during the double-dip recession of the early 1980s when the jobless rate hit 9.6 percent in December 1982 through February 1983.

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