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Boise State University to host World Trade Day

Boise State University's College of Business and Economics. File photo by Pete Grady.

Boise State University’s College of Business and Economics. File photo by Pete Grady.

Business leaders are getting together April 30 for the annual Idaho World Trade Day at Boise State University.

Dozens of speakers from around the country will be talking about ways that companies can expand their international sales. The speakers include Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter and Alison Kelsey, the export manager for the Boise-based Rekluse Motor Sports, who will talk about her own company’s experience in expanding its international sales.

Doug Hartley, a commercial specialist based in Canberra, Australia, will talk about doing business in Australia and Keith Kirkham, a commercial officer based at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, will talk about doing business in Russia.

World Trade Day Conference is the largest international trade event in Idaho.

IBR Staff

‘Soft skills’ like positive thinking matter in business, says survey

More than 75 percent of the employers in a recent survey say “soft skills” such as a positive attitude and self-motivation are just as important as “hard skills” that can be measured.

CareerBuilder commissioned a study of more than 2,000 hiring managers earlier this year to get its results.

The Chicago-based employment company said the survey showed 77 percent of employers believe less tangible skills help employees adapt more easily, solve problems, follow through, and lead and motivate others. Those skills include confidence, flexibility, dependability, and a strong work ethic.

Sixteen percent of employers said soft skills are more important than hard skills when evaluating candidates for a job.

“When companies are assessing job candidates, they’re looking for the best of both worlds: someone who is not only proficient in a particular function, but also has the right personality,” said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder.

Hiring managers also said they look for people who can work well under pressure, are organized, and can communicate effectively.

IBR Staff

ISU professor: Novelty can curb nicotine cravings

A study from an Idaho State University and professional colleagues from around the country suggests that taking part in novel activities can help smokers kick the habit.

The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE in April.

It says “self-expanding” activities such as a hobby, reading or solving a puzzle can help with nicotine craving.

Xiaomeng “Mona” Xu, an assistant professor of psychology at ISU, worked with researchers from Stony Brook University, the American Cancer Society, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, University of Georgia and Brown University.

Researchers based their study’s conclusions on a neuroimaging study using functional magnetic resonance imaging scanning that measures brain activity by detecting changes in blood flow.

“The study showed that engaging in exciting, novel activities helps to reduce cigarette cue-reactivity in the brain,” Xu said.

IBR Staff

Planet Beach founder supports keeping minors out of the tanning booth

The founder and CEO of the Planet Beach tanning franchiser is supporting a bill that would keep minors out of tanning booths whether they have permission or not.

Stephen Smith, the CEO of the New Orleans-based company, planned to testify in support of a bill making its way through the Louisiana Legislature that would block minors from using UV tanning services.

“Our company’s services have evolved away from our past tanning roots,” Smith said in a release from the company. “More importantly, we support this legislation because of our concern for all of our customers’ skin, health and overall wellness.”

Planet Beach has eight Idaho outlets in Boise, Nampa, Twin Falls, and Idaho Falls.

“By banning minors from UV services, Planet Beach continues to set the bar as the leader in the automated spa industry, even with roots in UV therapy,” Smith said in the release. “Planet Beach predicted the decline in the popularity of UV tanning and saw the health concerns that began to arise.”

The company has added automated spray tanning services.

IBR Staff

Congress warns states on transportation

The U.S. transportation secretary took to the road the week of April 14 to spread some bad news: the government’s Highway Trust Fund is nearly broke. If allowed to run dry, that could set back or shut down projects across the country, force widespread layoffs of construction workers and delay needed repairs and improvements.

Anthony Foxx kicked off an eight-state bus trip in Ohio to whip up public support for congressional approval of legislation to keep federal transportation aid flowing to states for another four years, and possibly longer. But Congress will have to act fast. The Highway Trust Fund — the source of much of the aid — is forecast to essentially run dry sometime before the end of the federal fiscal year Sept. 30, and possibly as early as late August.

If that happens, the government will have to slow down or even halt payments to states, which rely on federal aid for most major highway projects.

Uncertainty over whether there will be enough funds in the coming months is already causing officials in states like Arkansas, California and Colorado to consider delaying planned projects.

Foxx’s warnings echo ones by President Barack Obama, who cautioned in February that unless Congress finished a bill by summer’s end then “we could see construction projects stop in their tracks.” But there is little interest among politicians in an election year to consider raising gasoline taxes.

The Associated Press

Idaho unemployment rate drops in March

Idaho’s unemployment rate dropped a tenth of a percentage point in March to 5.2 percent, the lowest rate in 5 1/2 years.

The Idaho Department of Labor in a news statement said April 18 it’s the eighth straight monthly decline.

The agency says unemployment has fallen one and a third percentage points in a year, and that more than 11,000 people had jobs in March compared to March 2013.

Construction led the way with the strongest job growth between February and March as the state continues recovering from the bursting of the housing bubble.

The national unemployment rate was 6.7 percent in March, unchanged from February.

The state agency says Idaho’s unemployment rate has been below the national rate for more than 12 years.

The Associated Press

 

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