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BIZ BRIEFS

Workplace safety seminar Nov. 7

Michael Eckert, director of loss control services at the Accident Fund Insurance Co. of America, will lead a seminar on workplace safety from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 7 at the Alpena County Public Library, 211 N. 1st Ave.

The seminar costs $20 for members of the Alpena Area Chamber of Commerce, or $35 for non-members.

Advance registration is required and can be had by contacting info@alpenachamber.com or 989-354-4181.

Unclear if GM strike hurt retail

Michigan retail sales slowed last month after a strong September, and it’s unclear if the United Auto Workers’ strike against GM played a role, the Michigan Retailers Association said in a news release.

The September Retail Index survey, a 100-point measure of retail strength, came in at 42.7 last month, the association said. That’s down from September 2018’s 53.9 and below August 2019’s 60.1. Though the index dipped, 50 or better is usually a sign of positive retail activity.

The survey also showed 47% of Michigan retailers expect increased sales through December, while 29% predict a decrease.

Unemployment down in region

Unemployment fell in the northeast corner of the state in September, according to the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

The September 2019 unemployment rate was 4.4% across Alpena, Presque Isle, Montmorency, Alcona, Cheboygan, Crawford, Iosco, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Otsego, and Roscommon counties, according to DTMB.

That’s down from 5.2% in August and up only slightly from 4.4% in September 2018.

The state says 3,700 people were unemployed across those counties and 79,300 were working.

Across the state, regional unemployment rates ranged from 2.7% in Clinton and Ottawa counties to 5.7% in Montmorency County, the state said.

Alpena County’s rate was 3.8%, Presque Isle County’s was 4.9%, and Alcona County’s was 5%.

Funeral home backs

emergency app

Residents can download a potentially life-saving smartphone application for free thanks to an Alpena funeral home.

McWilliams Funeral Home is backing free downloads of an app called Vital ICE (In Case of Emergency) from the Apple App Store or Google Play, the funeral home said in a news release. Enter the code 8044 when downloading to receive the service for free.

The app can send your GPS location and a text message to up to 10 emergency contacts while also notifying first-responders.

Visit vitalboards.com/vitalice for more information.

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