Business News

Promotions announced at First Bank

ESCANABA — President and CEO of First Bank, Upper Michigan, Todd Maki, announced the promotion of two employees — Cheryl Irving to mortgage loan officer and Zandra Swanson to operations manager. Irving joined First Bank in 2000, with her most recent role as mortgage underwriter before ...

Ready to serve: Businesses find vets are dedicated, capable

By Joyce M. Rosenberg AP Business Writer NEW YORK (AP) — Clinton Smith hires veterans because he knows military service has helped them become dedicated and hard-working staffers. “When you say, ‘I need you to do this right now,’ they get it done and get it done well,” says ...

Social media: Small businesses need focus

By Joyce M. Rosenberg AP Business Writer NEW YORK (AP) When Snapchat went public this year, it was a reminder to many small business owners that they need to be part of the social media evolution. But which network? Snapchat? Facebook? Instagram? All of the above? Many owners opt for a ...

US households owe record amount

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. household debt reached a record high in the first three months of this year, topping the previous peak reached in 2008, when the financial crisis plunged the economy into a deep recession. Americans have stepped up borrowing over the past three years, yet the nature ...

US industrial production posts big gain

WASHINGTON (AP) — American industry expanded production last month at the fastest pace in more than three years as manufacturers and mines recovered from a March downturn. The Federal Reserve said that industrial production at U.S. factories, mines and utilities shot up 1 percent in April ...

Average US 30-year mortgage rate slips

WASHINGTON (AP) — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates inched lower this week. It was the fifth straight week that the benchmark 30-year rate hovered around the key threshold of 4 percent. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said the average rate on 30-year fixed-rate home loans slipped to 4.02 percent ...

Businesses increased stockpiles slightly

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. businesses increased their stockpiles slightly in March, while their sales were flat. The Commerce Department says business inventories rose by a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent in March, matching February’s gain. And sales were unchanged in March after inching up ...

Claims for US unemployment aid fall

WASHINGTN (AP) — Fewer Americans sought jobless benefits last week, and the number of people collecting unemployment checks felt to the lowest level since 1988 — more evidence the U.S. job market remains strong. THE NUMBERS: The Labor Department said that initial claims for jobless aid ...

Retail funk: Stores face biggest challenges since recession

NEW YORK (AP) — It’s starting to look a lot like the Great Recession redux for retailers. More than twice as many stores have closed this year than at the same point last year. Bankruptcies are far outpacing last year’s rate. Retailers slashed jobs at the sharpest pace in seven years ...

Rapid River Logistics earns awards

RAPID RIVER — The Great West Platinum Award is awarded to less than 1 percent of their clients, placing Rapid River Logistics in a very elite class of safe organizations. Rapid River Logistics LLC was presented Platinum and Gold Awards by Great West Casualty Company as part of its 2016 ...

Kathy Fries named to Sterling Society

ESCANABA — Kathy Fries, of Nahma, a sales associate with Coldwell Banker Pro Realty, has been honored as a member of the company’s 2016 International Sterling Society. This distinguished membership was awarded to the top 17 percent of all sales associates worldwide in the Coldwell Banker ...

Michigan retailers boost sales forecasts

LANSING — Michigan retailers’ spring sales forecasts grew even stronger after their March sales rose, according to the Michigan Retail Index, a joint project of Michigan Retailers Association (MRA) and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Four of every five retailers (80 percent) expect ...

Average 30-year mortgage rate rises

WASHINGTON (AP) — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates rose this week for the first time in five weeks. The benchmark 30-year rate pushed back above the key threshold of 4 percent. Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said the average rate on 30-year fixed-rate home loans increased to 4.03 percent from 3.97 ...

Small businesses can feel much bigger effects from a PR disaster

By Joyce M. Rosenberg AP Business Writer NEW YORK (AP) — Halfway through Valentine’s Day, florist Ajay Kori realized he was in the midst of a disaster. His company wasn’t going to be able to deliver many of the promised roses and other flowers by the end of the day. Angry customers ...

VanAire expands ownership to Lamber, Miller

GLADSTONE — VanAire, Incorporated announces Tony Lambert and Eric Miller have been added as owners of the Gladstone-based manufacturing company. The two join Bill VanDeVusse, who has owned the company since 2014. Lambert is a graduate of Bay College and has been with the company since ...

Upper Michigan Safety Conference is April 28

ESCANABA — The 17th Annual Upper Michigan Safety Conference will be held on Friday, April 28, at Bay College in Escanaba. The keynote address for this year’s conference will be provided by husband and wife, Russ and Laurel Youngstrom of Washington. They will share their story of how one ...

Hiawatha Chef wins Excellerator Award

ESCANABA — Hiawatha Chef Supply of Escanaba and Appleton has won an Excellerator Award from the Denver-based Excell Marketing & Procurement Group. The award recognizes the company for doing at least $500,000 worth of business with Excell member vendors in 2016, and for increasing its ...

Sundquist named business specialist

ESCANABA — OSF St. Francis Hospital & Medical Group announces Amy Sundquist has been named the new business development specialist/analyst. Within this role, she will act as the key resource and liaison for business development, communication, information and problem solving and will ...

Culture shock: Business owners see need to change their ways

By Joyce M. Rosenberg AP Business Writer NEW YORK (AP) — The results of a staff survey jolted Alex Slater into realizing how drastically his business needed a culture change. About half the 19 employees at his Clyde Group public relations firm said they planned to leave in one to two ...

US wholesale inflation slides, energy falls

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inflation at the wholesale level slid last month, pulled down by plummeting energy prices. The Labor Department said that its producer price index, which measures inflation pressures before they reach consumers, fell 0.1 percent in March, the first drop since August. ...