Economic experts continue to say the economy is turning around. The state recently reported the October employment numbers jumped by the highest amount in almost four years as the unemployment rate remained steady. The state's seasonally adjusted monthly employment increased by 8,500, the biggest jump since February 2000, well before the onset of the recent recession, The Department of Employment and Economic Development reported.
The state's unadjusted unemployment rate for October is 4.1 percent compared to 5.6 percent nationally. The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 4.6 percent while the nation's rate is 6 percent.
Every major sector -- except trade, transportation and utilities -- moved upward in October.
"Minnesota's recovery has been gaining momentum for the last several months, but October's employment numbers are even more encouraging than expected," said DEED Commissioner Matt Kramer. In a news release last week, Kramer said the numbers are one more sign "that points to an energized economy in 2004."
County numbers will be released later this week. The numbers are available online at www.mnworkforcecenter.org/lmi/laus/.
Feats of Iron and Clay gift shop opened just weeks ago on Beaver Dam Road.
The home-based business has one-of-a-kind pottery and iron work. Owner Eileen Kulseth said some items are in the shabby chic category. She has a pottery studio next to the gift shop and offers demonstrations and expects to add pottery classes.
Tim and Eileen Kulseth have been in the area about 10 years. Tim Kulseth does the iron work. They have had shows before but this is the first time they opened a shop.
The gift shop's range of prices runs from $4.50 to $300. And they create custom-made pieces for clients as well. The gift shop is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.
Latte Rivers cafe opened in the Triangle convenience store near the Baxter School just off Highway 210. The cafe, owned and operated by Wendy Peterson since September, has broasted chicken espressos, corn dogs, Kemps ice cream, pizzas, hamburgers and fries and soup during the day. The cafe, which replaced Market Square, seats about 20 with additional outside seasonal seating.
Peterson also owns the Breeze Cafe in Breezy Point inside the Pelican store. Peterson opened the Breeze Cafe last February.
Latte Rivers is open from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and from noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. Between the two businesses, Peterson employs about nine people.
Hooked on Quilting opened in Aitkin. The shop is operated by Carol Munson.
BAM Sites Inc., a Web site development business, was another addition to the Aitkin area with Brad Miller. The business is based in Crosby.
Two other Aitkin businesses have new owners. Robert and Shirley Haugly are new owners of Rosallini's restaurant. Dogpatch, a pet grooming and boarding business, is now owned by Tony and Lynn Kirk. The Kirks also breed and sell standard poodles and miniature pinchers.
In Wadena, Ray Meinhardt announced his piano tuning and repair service to the area. Meinhardt said he was trained by the Empire School of Piano Tuning and worked in the western suburbs of Minneapolis since 1965.
Meinhardt, and his wife, Carol, recently moved to Wadena. He once found a perfectly preserved mouse skeleton in a school piano and took it to the biology lab and left it with a note.
The Little Falls Area Chamber is not lacking for people interested in the executive director's position. The selection committee received 88 applications. The chamber reported the 10-member committee was impressed with the overwhelming response and is looking forward to interviewing the finalists.
Six applicants are being asked to interview during the first week in December. The chamber expects to have the position filled by early January.
The Business Expo and Holiday Extravaganza is 4:30-7:30 p.m. Dec. 4 at Madden's Townhall.
Christmas is just around the corner -- just look at the store decorations. Something happens after Halloween each year, unless you are an elementary school student. The holiday season appears to gain the speed of an avalanche.
Area stores were busy with decorations recently in preparation for the traditional blitz following the equally traditional Thanksgiving feast day.
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