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Letter From the Editor

by Carol Walsh
March 2019

Communities on the Move

National projects aside, economic development professionals agree that Business Retention and Expansion – BRE – is the most practical strategy for growth. Cameron Macht, DEED Labor Market Information Office, and Michael Darger, University of Minnesota Extension, pair the Business Employment Dynamics dataset with ongoing projects that aim to keep businesses in the communities of Barnesville (Clay County, northwest Minnesota) and Cottage Grove (Washington County, metro area).

Both communities took different approaches: Barnesville enhanced its BRE visitation program, and sound community investments followed. In Cottage Grove, employer concerns about the workforce shortage led Park High School to launch a class, How to Make Almost Anything, in their new Inventor Space.

The program will build students’ ability to prototype and make things with a variety of computer and production equipment, such as the Roland MDX-50 mill, valuable training for anyone who desires to work for area manufacturers.

Social Security. Earned Income Tax Credit benefits. Veterans’ benefits. They’re all examples of transfer payments, and the Bureau of Economic Analysis (U.S. Department of Commerce) produces transfer payments data as part of their personal income estimations. David Senf uses BEA estimates of personal income and its components, for states, counties, and metro areas, to compare economic well-being across areas and to track economic progress over time in Where Does the Money Go? This article tracks Minnesota’s per capita personal income ranking over the last 20 years.

Sanjukta Chaudhuri and Carrie Marsh walk us through a new tool: The Bachelor’s Degree and Career Destination (BDCD) tool. The BDCD provides information on occupations, employment and unemployment, labor force participation, and wage and salary incomes, and answers two questions: What occupations do undergraduate degree holders enter? What majors do incumbents of occupations come from? The tool was funded through a 2015 State Longitudinal Data Systems grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The recent economic expansion in Minnesota has created better employment opportunities for high school graduates. In College: Yes or No? David Stokman, contributing writer and former intern with DEED Performance Management, examines trade-offs Minnesota high school graduates make in the life-changing decision of whether or not to go to college. Stokman examines statewide and regional trends for high school graduates who did not go to college but instead entered the workforce from 2009-2016.

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