News: Seattle’s minimum-wage increase made the most vulnerable workers poorer   source: Quartz  

In the battle for a higher minimum wage, the logic seems clear; raise wages for the lowest earners among us to bring them closer to a living wage. It’s great in intention, but it would now seem that in real world practice, it doesn’t play out that way. Seattle has gone through two significant minimum wage raises since 2015, and the data is starting to bear out. Yes, […]

Summary by: Josh Wolsky

News: Grand Forks Voters choose to build on Arbor Park after close vote   source: Grand Forks Herald  

Grand Forks residents narrowly chose economic activity and a new development in downtown Grand Forks over keeping a park that was put in place following the 1997 flood. But a quote from Grand Forks City Council President Dana Sande is perhaps most telling in how the City will move forward. “The thing that should never be lost is, there are a bunch of people that voted ‘yes’ that wanted […]

Summary by: Josh Wolsky

Evidence for a New Economic Development Model?

Commentary, News: Evidence for a New Economic Development Model?

Economic growth, economic diversity, these are buzzwords in North Dakota and in Minot right now. The City’s NDR application talks about it; our consultant on the project, CDM Smith, even has a $300,000 budget to create an ‘Economic Development Strategic Plan for Minot & Ward County’. We also have the MAGIC fund, a sales-tax-funded pot of money earmarked toward providing ‘incentives’ for primary sector businesses. Luring new businesses […]

Shakeup at IRET Results in Leadership Transition to Minneapolis

Business, News: Shakeup at IRET Results in Leadership Transition to Minneapolis

One of Minot’s larger employers, IRET, is going through a company transition that will result in significant operating changes. In a news release available on the IRET website, the company announced the retirement and pending retirement of several top executives. In addition to the personnel shakeup, the company also announced that those filling new leadership roles will headquarter in Minneapolis. Here’s the quote from the news release: Mr. Decker, Mr. […]

Fact Checking Claims About Economic Incentives

Commentary: Fact Checking Claims About Economic Incentives   source:   

In the doldrums of the oil downturn, economic resiliency, development, and diversity have never been more important. And it’s become apparent — especially here in Minot where we see evidence of businesses closing almost weekly, that we haven’t been very good at creating any of those things. Perhaps it’s because we’re using the wrong methods. Fargo City Commissioner Tony Gehrig offers his thoughts on the conventional thinking that […]

Summary by: Josh Wolsky

Business: Shoe retailer Payless files for bankruptcy; hundreds of stores expected to close   source: Forbes  

Another day and another story of a major national retailing filing for bankruptcy. The economic disruption caused by the Internet and online retailers like Amazon is just starting to ripple through our communities in a manner we can see and touch. No word yet on if Minot’s Payless ShoeSource will be among the 400 stores expected to close immediately.

Summary by: Josh Wolsky

Lyft announces huge Midwest expansion, including Fargo, Bismarck, Grand Forks

News: Lyft announces huge Midwest expansion, including Fargo, Bismarck, Grand Forks

The sharing economy is moving into North Dakota in a big way. Ride-sharing service Lyft announced a 50-city expansion into the midwest that includes Fargo, Bismarck, and Grand Forks. To read more about the expansion, check out this article on The Verge. To learn more about Lyft, check out this video.

News: Farm Operators Adapting to Supply and Demand Economics   source: Williston Herald  

In the business of producing raw food products, current commodity prices are directly impacted by last year’s harvest. And current prices are the biggest factor in what get’s planted this year. It all results in a game that requires good operators to adapt their farms to supply and demand conditions that have potential for the best return on their annual effort and investment.

Summary by: Josh Wolsky

News: Leaner and meaner: US shale greater threat to OPEC after oil price war   source: Reuters  

With news that OPEC has an agreement with member countries and Russia to reduce output, the conversation in North Dakota will shift to how did we come through this down cycle in the industry? And a couple reporters from Reuters have the start of the answer. It may turn out that the OPEC attempt to bust the shale energy market was the true bust. U.S. based energy producers […]

Summary by: Josh Wolsky

News: Oil up sharply as OPEC finalizes first output cut since 2008   source: Reuters  

The glut in world oil supply, which in turn led to the price of oil plummeting since mid-2014, may be behind us. OPEC, a cartel of loosely organized countries with a direct interest in maintaining higher oil prices has a tentative agreement that includes Russia to curb production. Speculation on oil futures responded quickly to the news sending the price of oil to over $50, up more than […]

Summary by: Josh Wolsky

Business, Commentary: Commentary: Why Does Fargo Keep Giving Tax Dollars Away?   source: Say Anything Blog.com  

Tony Gehrig is a Fargo City Commissioner who wonders out loud if the Fargo City Commission is using its economic development incentives properly. Though this relates directly to Fargo, the lesson could be applied to any community trying to entice businesses — for example, Minot.

Summary by: Josh Wolsky