'What We Earn' needs your input
Every year, Parade magazine reports on people's salaries around the country. This year's "What We Earn" report is in a Parade magazine that will appear next month in The Bee. To supplement this report, The Bee is looking for area residents who would be willing to share their name, age, occupation, annual income and comments about wages in the Central Valley. If you would like to participate, call 578-2336 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
County Bank parent has 1st annual loss
The parent company of Merced-based County Bank reported its first annual loss today, confirming the bank's previous warnings that the faltering central San Joaquin Valley real estate market had hurt its portfolio of loans. Capital Corp. of the West also reported it was suspending quarterly cash dividend payments to shareholders as part of a series of steps required by state and federal regulators to restore the bank's capital levels. County Bank lost $3.6 million in 2007, down from profits of $22.6 million in 2006, the bank reported in a Wednesday filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The report originally was set to be released March 17 but was postponed twice. That 2007 loss wasn't as steep as the $4 million loss the bank had projected last month, but still was the first money-losing year in the bank's 30-year history, Thomas Hawker, chief executive, said in a statement.
Labor Ready branch joining Turlock unit
Labor Ready's original Modesto branch, at 919 Yosemite Blvd., has closed and been consolidated into the agency's Turlock branch, an employee confirmed this week. The temporary services agency still operates a branch in Modesto at 3330 McHenry Ave., which opened in 1999. Corporate officials of the Tacoma, Wash.-based business did not return phone calls. The housing slowdown has drastically reduced the need for general labor and construction workers in the Northern San Joaquin Valley. The construction industry lost 1,200 jobs in Stanislaus County in the last year, according to recent Employment Development Department figures. Labor Ready concentrates almost exclusively on providing general, semiskilled and skilled laborers. Workers are a paid a daily wage.
The progress of the national Hope Now program in aiding distressed homeowners is questioned as foreclosures and frustrations mount.