Signs in the window of Brown's Towne Restaurant and Lounge on Wednesday, September 30. (Amanda Loman/Salem Reporter)

There’s a lot going on business. To help keep you up to speed, the Salem Reporter has launched a semi-regular roundup of business-related items that includes new business openings, locations, grant opportunities and others. 

To suggest an item, reach out to reporter Jake Thomas at [email protected]

REBOUND. Oregon’s unemployment rate dipped slightly to 8% in September. That’s a decrease from the 8.5% most recently recorded by the Oregon Employment Department. 

The state’s unemployment rate has followed the rest of the country since the Covid pandemic hit. Nationally, the unemployment rate fell to 7.9% in September, down from 8.4% in August. 

According to the Employment Department, Oregon’s job growth has slowed over the last three months, with 39,000 jobs added. The state saw more rapid growth in May and June when 83,100 jobs were added as pandemic restrictions were lifted. Oregon has recovered 45% of jobs lost in March and April as much of the economy was shut down in response to the virus. 

Local unemployment rates will be released next week.

WASTE NOT. EarthWISE, Marion County’s sustainable business network, is offering Waste Reduction grants to businesses to help them reduce food waste. Five businesses will be awarded $10,000 along with other resources to reduce wasted food. 

The grant money will be dispersed in phases to businesses and will be accompanied by assessments and audits to identify materials, renovations, equipment, upgrades or staff training to decrease food waste. 

Applications will be accepted through Oct. 23. For more information, email [email protected].or.us.

BYE BIRDIE. Birdie’s Bistro, located at 380 High St NE Salem, will open for the last time on Sunday, Oct. 18. The restaurant — which serves baked goods, soups, salads and espresso — announced the closure on Facebook earlier this week. 

“We will have specials all week as we move out inventory, decor, and equipment - everything must go!” reads the post. 

LANGUAGE OF EMPLOYMENT. As part of its effort to be more inclusive, the Oregon Employment Department has announced that its website is available in 15 languages other than English. The translated website will include information about new unemployment programs, instructions for how to apply for benefits and answers to frequently asked questions. Additionally, the website will be easier to use on a mobile device. The languages include Vietnamese, Russian, Romanian, Farsi, Marshallese and others. 

TAX SURPRISE. The Oregon Department of Revenue says that now is the time for taxpayers to act to prevent a surprise tax bill next year.

The department is encouraging taxpayers to check their state tax withholding and payments using a calculation tool on the department’s website. If taxpayers aren’t withholding enough from their income, they could be on the hook for unpaid taxes next year. 

The department recommends wage earners to review their withholding if they’ve had a personal or financial change, such as a change in income, filing status or number of dependents. That could include the thousands of Oregonians have had to file for unemployment benefits this year. The payments are taxable and recipients have the option to have state taxes withheld. 

Contact reporter Jake Thomas at 503-575-1251 or [email protected] or @jakethomas2009.

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