Photo Credit: Paul Anderson/Wiki Commons

A wind tower manufacturer in Richland, Wash. says it’s closing plants in Washington and Nebraska.

Anna King

Washington state apple farmers are gearing up to harvest the second-largest crop in history, but it appears there won't be enough workers to get the fruit off the trees quickly enough. The shortage comes as apple prices are high because of crop damage elsewhere in the country. Correspondent Anna King has our report from an apple orchard outside of Prescott, Washington.

Northwest News Network

American coal companies are looking to the Northwest as the fastest way to bring their product from the Powder River Basin of Wyoming and Montana to Asian markets. There are now 5 ports in Washington and Oregon considering coal export terminals. In part two of our series on Coal in the Northwest we head to the site of what could one day be the largest coal export facility on the west coast, Bellingham, Washington. 

Oregon's Economy Continues Uneven Recovery

Jul 31, 2012

Oregon's economy showed mixed recovery in May. Most of the state's metropolitan regions continued to struggle, but the Portland area showed real progress. KLCC's Jes Burns reports.

The University of Oregon's Regional Economic Index for May found that Portland outperformed the rest of the state. Oregon Economic Forum Director Tim Duy says that area is once again growing at the average rate of the last 14 years.

With lingering high unemployment and the endless talk of the down economy – it’s hard to believe that there are some industries putting help-wanted signs out by the dozens. But that’s the case in Northwest orchard country where there appears to be a dwindling supply of migrant workers for cherry picking. Cherry season started this past week, and as correspondent Anna King reports, farmers and shop-keeps alike are anxiously waiting for more workers to arrive.

The shift to private liquor sales in Washington is affecting some 1,200 state employees. But they’re not all out of a job. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins checked in on how workers at one former state liquor store are doing under new system.

Photo credit: Wikimedia user Jay8G / Wikimedia Commons

Washington’s jobless rate continues to inch downward. The April numbers out Wednesday put unemployment at 8.1 percent. That’s down from 8.3 percent in March. Most of April’s job growth was in manufacturing. State economist Dave Wallace says so far 2012 is proving to be a recovery year in Washington.

Photo credit: Tom Banse / Northwest News Network

Harry & David will be bringing its seasonal call center back to Eugene this year. They'll employ 700 to 800 people from November through mid-December.

Harry & David shut down their Eugene call center in 2010 and 2011, when it was going through financial hardship.

Darren Prescott is Vice President for Customer Care. He says the company tried outsourcing.

Photo by Chris Lehman / Northwest News Network

PORTLAND - The Northwest has long been a draw for people moving here from other parts of the United States. That continues to be a key driver of the region’s economy. Despite high unemployment rates, Oregon and Washington still lure folks from the Midwest and elsewhere. And they bring in new money and job skills. In a collaboration with public radio's Changing Gears, Chris Lehman introduces us to some rust belt transplants to the Northwest.

Ashley Ahearn / N3

Six ports in the Northwest are now considering building export terminals to bring American coal to Asian markets. One of those ports is Grays Harbor – west of Olympia. 5 million tons of coal could move through that port each year. If that coal is burned in places like China that would be the same as putting about two and a half million new cars on the road. But the new terminal represents much-needed jobs in this county – and that has people talking.

Photo by Amelia Templeton / Northwest News Network

SALEM, Ore. -- Congress may be close to funding county timber payments for one more year. The senate passed a transportation bill Wednesday that included an extension of the rural aid program.

Photo by Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

COEUR D’ALENE, Idaho - A few months ago, two northwest soldiers returned from Iraq with their National Guard unit. Both started looking for new civilian jobs. Neither is satisfied with what they found. Correspondent Jessica Robinson recently checked in with them and discovered that both soldiers are now thinking about signing up for another overseas tour with the military.

Photo Credit: Amelia Templeton / Northwest News Network

MEDFORD, Ore. -- Representatives from the Northwest released not one, but two controversial forestry bills Thursday. Both would channel funds from timber sales to rural counties. Amelia Templeton reports.

Most days, Nowela Virginie and her two young daughters are here, in her small apartment just off a busy thoroughfare on the outskirts of Boise.

Virginie is 23, and she arrived in Boise three years ago. She was born in Rwanda, but spent 16 years of her life in a refugee camp in Tanzania. She remembers the shock of finding herself in a new city, a place that looked nothing like anywhere she’d ever been. "When I coming USA, nobody can explain to me how USA is to look like, nobody can explain to me," she says.

Miners’ Prospects Reverse Of Economic Downturn

Jan 25, 2012
Wikimedia user: Plazak / Wikimedia Commons

SILVER VALLEY, Idaho - They say the days when you could go from high school to a high-paying, blue collar job are long gone. But there are places in the Northwest where those days still exist -- that is, if you’re willing to work a mile underground.

For gold and silver miners, it looks like boom times right now. Rising salaries, more job opportunities. Even a recent layoff in north Idaho doesn't look like other layoffs. Correspondent Jessica Robinson has this story on a job that's seeing the reverse side of the economic downturn.

PORTLAND, Ore. - Iberdrola Renewables, one of the Northwest's biggest wind and solar power companies, let go about 50 workers out of a nationwide staff of more than 900. The cuts affect 25 workers based at its North American headquarters in Portland. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

Energy company Iberdrola Renewables cited multiple factors for a decision to scale back on new projects. That led directly to layoffs in engineering, construction and development.

Silver Valley Slams Feds For Mine Shut Down

Jan 24, 2012
Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

WALLACE, Idaho - Residents of Idaho's Silver Valley are outraged over a federal order that will put 250 local miners out of work for a year. They expressed their frustration to Idaho Governor Butch Otter Monday at a town hall meeting in Wallace. Correspondent Jessica Robinson has more.

The Lucky Friday Mine in north Idaho is one of the deepest and most productive silver mines in the country. And in 2011, it had a string of accidents -– including two fatalities.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

OLYMPIA, Wash. – The number of people who are out of work in Washington is falling. It’s a sign the economy is recovering – albeit slowly. But it’s only been in the last two months that the government sector has started hiring again. Olympia Correspondent Austin Jenkins profiles one person who lost her state job, but found another one.

Keri-Anne Jetzer’s low point came last year when she lost her job as a researcher for Washington’s Sentencing Guidelines Commission.

Jobless people in Idaho will start to see a major transition in its unemployment system. Idaho is phasing out paper unemployment checks and phasing in a system that puts benefits on debit cards. It becomes the second Northwest state to do so.

About one-third of Idaho's 44,000 unemployed people already have their weekly benefits put into some sort of electronic account. Now, Labor Department spokesman Bob Fick says Idaho's moving the other two-thirds that still receive paper checks to the state-issued debit cards.

The Oregon employment department released job data for April today/ yesterday [Tuesday]. As Amelia Templeton of OPB reports, unemployment in the state is still stuck at 10 and a half percent.