Tulare County’s jobless rate in January 2013 was 16.8%,up from 15.9 % in December 2012 but down from 17.7% in January 2012. Almost 2000 fewer people were unemployed in January 2013 compared to a year earlier. The uptick in January vs December 2012 is largely due to a 4000 person increase in the labor pool meaning more were looking for work. There were some 2700 more non-farm jobs in Jan 2013 compared to Jan 2012 led by 1000 more in manufacturing and 1400 more in trade and transportation.The hospitality industry added 400 more jobs year over year.
More Hotel Rooms Sold
February saw a nice uptick in in hotel room occupancy in both Tulare and Fresno Counties,but not Kern. Fresno hotel occupancy rose to 54.9% from 51.6% in Jan 2012. Tulare County recorded a 54.9% occupancy – up from 49.9% a year earlier.Bakersfield hotel occupancy fell year over year to 59.5% from 63.1%. Rooms sold in Fresno were up 7%,Tulare County up 9.9% but Bako was down 4.6%. Tulare County’s nearly 10% improvement was the best in the state according to Smith Travel.
Badger Fire Station
Badger will get a new fire station according to a public notice The new facility would sit on 2.3 acres at Wildhog Canyon and Hwy 245.
Ag Land Values
The Ranch Co’s annual statistic report shows ag land prices excluding rangeland way up to an average of $12,162 an an acre in 2012,a 68% increase over 2011. Owner John Grimmius notes some walnut orchards are going for as high as $36,000 an acre.
Gas Prices Down In March
California gas prices have fallen more than 20 cents this month to around $4 a gallon. Several stations in Tulare are selling at $3.79 a gallon this week.
The mothballed solid fuel power plants owned by GWF Energy in California have been sold at a March 20 auction and according to one source sold for scrap including the idle plant in Hanford. The auction company for the old coke fired power facilities has requested bids to demolish several of the plants including Hanford. that closed in 2011.The demo will require a permit from the Valley Air Board over any asbestos issues. GWF Energy has six mothballed coke plants in the state – out of favor due to their greenhouse gas emissions. As of December GWF is now owned by Highstar Capital with ownership of a 334 MW combined cycle power plant in Tracy and the 2 ‘peaker plants’ in Kings County,one in Hanford and one near NAS Lemoore.(Henrietta). All three nat gas plants have agreements with PG&E through 2022.