Business Briefs – Nov 24

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PORTLAND

Metro area jobless rate at 11.6 percent in October

The Vancouver-Portland metro area seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in October was 11.6 percent. That’s up slightly from September’s revised rate of 11.5 percent and up from 6.8 percent a year ago, the Oregon Employment Department announced Monday.

Oregon’s jobless rate in October was 11.3 percent, with Washington at 9.3 percent. Since peaking in January 2008, the metro area has lost 67,800 jobs, a decline of 6.5 percent.

The estimated number of unemployed residents in the metro area is 125,700, including nearly 30,000 in Clark County.

seattle

Three area banks included in top companies the state

Three local banks have been included in Washington’s 100 best companies to work for in 2009 by Seattle Business Magazine.

Vancouver-based Riverview Bank, with 275 employees ranked No. 20 out of 30 mid-sized companies on the list. And iQ Credit Union ranked No. 2 out of eight nonprofits. Tacoma-based Columbia Bank, which will open a branch in downtown Vancouver in December, ranked No. 2 among large companies. Columbia employs 708.

Some 9,500 employees ranked their employers based on criteria such as leadership, communications, work environment, benefits and training. A panel of judges chose the top companies. Winning companies were organized into four categories: large companies, mid-sized companies, small companies and nonprofit organizations.

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J.

Campbell Soup: Profit up while revenue fell in 1Q

Price-conscious grocery shoppers are being choosy about what they buy to cook at home, even from value-oriented Campbell Soup Co.

The company reported Monday that its first quarter profit rose 17 percent with the help of lower costs from increased efficiency in getting its products from its plants to store shelves, as well as lower prices for grain ingredients.

Revenue fell 2.1 percent to $2.2 billion with dips in sales for most of its categories, ranging from condensed soup to Prego pasta sauce.

Earnings were $304 million, or 87 cents per share, in the first quarter, up from $260 million, or 70 cents per share, a year ago.

BRUSSELS

GM asks EU nations for $4.9B for restructuring

General Motors Co. on Monday asked European governments to help pay most of the $4.9 billion it needs to restructure its struggling European operations.

At talks in Brussels Monday, EU nations where GM has plants vowed to avoid individual negotiations with the company before a Dec. 4 meeting, where they will coordinate their response to GM’s restructuring plans, due later this week.