Alaska unemployment hits 6.9 percent
Alaska’s unemployment rate dropped to 6.9 percent last month, its lowest level since December 2008. The Labor Department states the preliminary, seasonally adjusted rate is slightly lower than March’s 7 percent unemployment rate. Alaska’s rate hasn’t been below 7 percent since December 2008, when it stood at 6.8 percent. Unemployment in April 2011 stood at 7.5 percent. The department states that while unemployment rates have declined both nationally and in Alaska in recent months, the U.S. rate remains higher than before the recession, unlike in Alaska.
Bristol General Contractors awarded JBER contract
Bristol General Contractors LLC, a member of the Bristol Alliance of Companies, was awarded a design build contract on April 30 to expand the Buckner Physical Fitness Facility located on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. The $22.5 million contract will add 50,920 square feet to the existing facility, adding a basketball court, indoor running track, a rock climbing wall, a pool with a slide and wave machine plus other items. The project is part of JBER’s ongoing efforts to enhance quality of life for base residents and visitors. Bristol Engineering Services Corp., another Bristol company, will perform all civil design work for the expansion. Groundbreaking is set for July, and work is scheduled for completion in fall 2014.
FDIC awards First Bank high CRA rating
First Bank received the highest possible rating from the FDIC for its most recent performance under the Community Reinvestment Act. The “Outstanding” rating is based on First Bank’s performance under the lending, investment and service tests to examine mortgage, small business and community development lending, community development investments and community development services in the communities the bank serves. This is First Bank’s sixth “Outstanding” rating. Less than 5 percent of banks nationwide earned that distinction in 2011. Since the last CRA rating, First Bank originated 44 community development loans for more than $60 million to affordable housing and economic development projects.
Alaskan hospitals designated as trauma centers
Kanakanak Hospital in Dillingham, Providence Seward Medical Center, Providence Valdez Medical Center, and the 673rd MDG Hospital at Joint Base Elemendorf-Richardson in Anchorage have all received Level IV trauma center designation. Alaska now has eight Level IV trauma centers. Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage is the state’s only Level II trauma center, the highest level designation currently appropriate for Alaska. Trauma center designations are based on the hospital’s care capability. Level I and II facilities must provide a constantly available level of personnel, equipment and coverage by a full complement of trauma specialists. Level IV hospitals provide initial evaluation, assessment, stabilization and transfer of critical patients to higher level trauma centers.
SBA names KeyBank as 2012 top large lender
The U.S. Small Business Administration named KeyBank the top SBA Large 7(a) Lender of the Year. The SBA awards the distinction based on factors such as portfolio performance, year over year growth in loan approval volume and on lender size, and ongoing commitment to the growth and expansion of small businesses. KeyBank is one of only four banks to consistently place among the nation’s top 30 SBA lenders. In addition, Key has pledged to make $5 billion in small business loans by 2014 and expects to fulfill that pledge well ahead of schedule.