Our January Membership Meeting was a raging success! Some of you know I’m a closet macro-economist -- I love talking about, learning, and tracking economic trends as shared by experts (ok, fine, true confessions: I love working on these numbers through spreadsheets). I also enjoy sharing and engaging in lively debate about this data.
We were honored to have two economic experts as our guests: Ron Wirtz, Regional Outreach Director for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, and Mary Beth Adams, Director at RSM, an audit/tax/consulting firm well known for their work in reporting on economic trends.
Every economist (or wanna-be) has his or her pet indicators to gauge the upcoming economic environment. Ron, Mary Beth and I debated that on stage, which was fun. No matter which data point you like, the economy looks solid at least through 2020.
What do we know?
First, the good news is that the general mood of employers is positive. According to the Fed, more than 75% of employers surveyed are somewhat or very optimistic about the year ahead. That’s great news and is being expressed in employment numbers: more than 75% of employers also are hiring! Not surprising, the challenge is availability of employees.
What’s particularly interesting nationally: we have been in economic recovery for over 126 months now – since June 2009. Recovery has been slower than any other recovery in recent history – indeed, economists have begun referring to this recovery track as the “New Normal” – we can’t look back to determine how future growth will behave in the future. We are in new territory. Our New Normal is characterized by this long, slow growth and significant labor shortages which have contributed to suppressing stronger growth.
And how does Minnesota look compared to national and historic trends? Minnesota is performing ahead of Wisconsin and Iowa, but still slightly slower than national economy overall. Our job growth continues to be steady and positive, though slow compared to historic averages.
The main takeaway: faster economic growth is restricted by labor shortage. Minnesota alone currently reports more than 106K job vacancies. This shortage, both in size and participation, is restricting faster growth. A key data point for us to consider is the difference in unemployment rates for white and non-white. As of November 2019:
White = 3%
Hispanic = 4.4%
Black = 6.3%
Native American = over 7%
High minority unemployment matters because they are the future workforce.
What does our economic future depend on?
Two things, primarily: 1) net migration of workers; 2) better capturing the under-employed workforce (including professionals of color, those formerly incarcerated, and those looking for/needing retraining). Data supports it, folks: our economic future depends on us doing our recruitment differently. Employers are optimistic that business continues to look good; to support that, we’ve got to figure out how to grow our workforce.
Bottom line: further growth in GDP/output are very connected to labor force growth, especially when productivity is unchanged. Our speakers offered these options to consider. We can:
Oh, and one more thing: at every Member Meeting moving forward, we’ll offer attendees an “Insider’s Perspective.” Want to know what we shared this month? sorry! You’ll have to attend next time to know! Mark your calendars for March 4th when we'll talk housing and the importance it plays in building our talent infrastructure.
President & CEO,
Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce
Post by Ramsey County Commissioner Victoria Reinhardt
The U.S. Constitution requires a complete count of the nation’s population every 10 years. The 2020 Census begins next year with most households receiving information about how to respond to the count in March and April 2020.
How does the 2020 Census Impact your Business and our Business Community?
Assuming your business cares about making informed decisions about site locations, building and infrastructure investments, market research, customer base and labor force demographics and other critical business intelligence, then the 2020 Census is important to you!
Put simply, businesses benefit when everyone counts. After every decennial census, the Census Bureau aggregates and releases data, which allows businesses to better understand their community and customers. A complete and accurate census count means that the demographic data that you rely on to make important business decisions accurately shows the characteristics of a community.
Census data will help your business make informed decisions on issues like:
Businesses as small as the local coffee shop and as large as our Fortune 500 companies’ headquarters use census data to make informed business decisions.
How does the 2020 Census impact your Representation?
Census data determines the number of seats each state has in the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as districts for state and local government.
After every census, the House of Representative’s 435 seats are apportioned according to the census count in each state. In 2020, Minnesota is at risk of losing its eighth seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Why? While Minnesota is growing, it’s not growing as fast as some other states. Maintaining strong representation in Washington, DC comes down to making sure that everyone is counted.
How does the 2020 Census impact Funding in our Communities?
Census data guides federal funding distributions of approximately $589 billion to local communities each year. Hundreds of federal financial assistance programs rely on census data to guide the distribution of funds, and Minnesota businesses benefit from these programs in many ways. For example:
Census data also helps plan schools, hospitals, senior centers, and emergency services to best serve our communities.
How can your business help to make sure everyone is counted?
Spread the word that a complete, accurate 2020 Census Count is important! It’s important to your employees, customers, and community.
What are other Business Leaders are Saying?
“For many businesses, good census data is the benchmark”
“A C.E.O.’s Plea: Don’t Mess With the Census”
“2020 Census citizenship question would hurt business decisions on jobs, stores and even TV”
“Census citizenship question will hurt Minnesota businesses”
Ramsey County Commissioner Victoria Reinhardt is co-chair of the Ramsey County – Saint Paul Joint Complete Count Committee. For more information, contact committee coordinators Jolie Wood at email@example.com or Toni Newborn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The lead up to Education Day in April was quite dramatic; given that we had to implement our ‘snow/cold’ weather policy due to the snowy weather. I have a new appreciation for the decision-making process that school districts and work places go through when there is a snow storm pending. Ultimately, we implemented our back-up plan, detouring to Saint Paul College as Saint Paul Public Schools called school off at 5:00 a.m. and we could no longer go to Harding High School for our scheduled activities, including lunch that was to be made by the culinary class.
The detour meant that we were able to spend extra time with both the President of Saint Paul College, Dr. Rassoul Dastmozd and Superintendent of Saint Paul Public Schools, Dr. Joe Gothard. One of the themes for the day was to discuss school climate and safety and we learned how schools are approaching the complex challenges while supporting students and parents. Saint Paul College went above and beyond with their hospitality, including bringing in the virtual welding equipment for LSPers to try their hand at welding—Kelly Duclos and Martina Nelson were the big winners in our friendly competition—and giving the participants two-hour tours of the campus and accommodating us in the cafeteria for lunch. In the end, even the college closed early, but it meant that we were able to head to Afterglow at Vibe Realty early.
Special thanks to Jessica Espinosa from Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and Tracy Wilson, Ph.D. from Saint Paul College, both LSP 2017, the co-chairs for the day as well as Amy Gage from the University of St. Thomas, LSP 2016, for putting on a wonderful day and adjusting as needed. Also a huge shout-out to VIBE Realty for throwing the #BestAfterglowEver, Steve Anderson (LSP 2019), Rob Glynn (LSP 2017) as well as Mandy Neuman and Lindsay Guentzel made us feel at home in their newly remodeled space!
Government Day found us at the Saint Paul City Hall. The class received a primer on the legislative process from Barry LaGrave of the Minnesota House of Representatives. Then they heard from a panel of journalists, including LSP Alum David Gillette, Anchor/Reporter at Twin Cities Public Television. The day also included hearing from and questioning elected officials such as, Ramsey County Commissioner Blake Huffman, Saint Paul City Councilmember Rebecca Noecker, and Mayor Melvin Carter. Finally the class participated in an exercise to examine the $15.00 minimum wage study through the Citizens League and heard from grassroots and regular lobbyists to learn about their jobs and how to influence public policy from the outside. Just one of the highlights was hearing about the Mayor Carters’ #4Saint Paul campaign that he was going to kick-off at his State of the City Address and then the class was able to make their own individual commitment to Saint Paul. See what the class committed to here.
Special thanks to Alison Kimlinger from the Consulate General of Canada and Tracy Sciacca from Weber Shandwick, both LSP 2018, the co-chairs for the day, for putting a tremendous day together.
Media & Communications Day was spent at Twin Cities Public Television (tpt) focusing on storytelling and learning from journalists, as well as communication and ethics presenters. A highlight was discussing storytelling and gender dynamics with many of the speakers.
We’re ever grateful to Brady Gervais of Children’s Minnesota and Joseph Lutz of Securian Financial, both LSP 2018 and the co-chairs of the day for their dedication to the day and the program. They were joined by Mary Huss of Securian Financial (LSP 2017) and Ashleigh Rowe of tpt (LSP 2018) in putting the day together.
Guest blog post by Valleyfair
Valleyfair is excited to announce three new team members that will be leading our Food and Beverage Team in the 2019 season. This team is going to be focused on chef-driven menus featuring fresh dishes and unique offerings. Read the full blog post here: https://www.valleyfair.com/blog/2018/december/new-fb-team-striving-for-big-changes-in-2019
Wow - the year 2018, what an amazing year for SPACC! We introduced our three-year strategic plan which is a catalyst for the exciting work ahead of us! We are building bridges to the broadest reaches of the community, delivering digital programming, and advancing priorities to ensure our region steps into its rightful place as a competitor in both the entrepreneurial and international arenas of business.
SPACC is undergoing a transformation and we invite you to respond with your energy and ideas, to partner with others in our marketplace, and become a part of what, together, we can do beyond our own potential vision. Our community looks better with you in it!
Warmest holiday wishes,
B Kyle and Team
If you have not had a chance to read our Strategic Plan, click here to download your copy. Here are a few highlights of ways we executed on our strategic priorities in 2018:
Economic / Community Development
The Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce the launch of our newly redesigned website which coincides with our strategic initiative to cast a wider net, capture the strength of our collective voices, and provide new programming opportunities in 2019.
Our new website provides a clear message of who we are, what we stand for and where our value lies when serving members through events, advocacy, economic development, resources, and leadership development. The website also boasts a clean design and intuitive and consistent site-wide navigation system with improved menu functionality. It is also fully responsive with mobile devices, making it easy to navigate on a wide range of web browsers and portable devices.
We will continue to communicate regularly through our Chamber Events Calendar and share what is happening on our Chamber News and Blog pages. We also plan to continue adding more video content to provide you with the information you need.
We’re really proud of the new website and feel it will create the experience you’re looking for when you pay us a visit. Check out the new website here: www.saintpaulchamber.com.
It’s that time of the year again, holidays. The last of the leaves are falling, the garden needs cleaning up, the neighbors are setting up holiday decorations, and friends and families are sending out holiday invitations. Maybe you’ll be hosting a holiday party or joining one. As many go into this season let’s have a less wasteful holiday.
Recycling Yard Waste and Organics
All of the metropolitan counties offer recycling for yard waste and organics. It’s a way to keep more waste out of the landfill. Recycling yard waste and organics are great compost soil for the coming years. The compost is free and can be used for home gardening. Consider recycling more to reduce the waste in your household by hauling your organics to your local county yard waste and organics site. Here a few things to consider for recycling:
See the table below if your county is listed and see what recycling services they offer. Make sure to visit your local county website to view their services and assistance for residential and commercial.
County Business Assistance
Gifts and Presents:
Here are a few tips you can do this season to reduce, reuse, and save money!
Less Wasteful Meals
Here are a few tips to ensure you have a less wasteful holiday feast:
The Christmas Tree
It’s that time of the year where many start planning Christmas Tree décor. Below are some ideas when you’re planning on setting up your tree! Whatever setup you end up with, there’s room to opt for a less wasteful holiday.
Real Christmas Tree – consider hanging compostable ornaments and don’t forget to dispose of your real tree properly. Click below for your county website yard/organics recycling program.
Artificial Christmas Tree – the great thing about artificial trees is that they last for many years! So that saves you from tossing it out. You can craft your own or buy ornaments that are compostable.
Artificial Wall Christmas Tree – this is a great option if you are conscious of space. You can be creative and make your own wall Christmas tree or buy a half artificial Christmas tree.
Of course there are plenty more ways on how to have a less wasteful holiday season. From recycling yard and organic waste to planning food for gatherings the list goes on. You can make small steps and adjustments this holiday to make an impact on reducing waste. Happy holidays!
Join the SPACC Equity group on LinkedIn to stay connected to your equity community!
Guest blog post by Margaret Anderson Kelliher, President and CEO, Minnesota High Tech Association
The entrepreneur economy is exploding in the Midwest and our companies are developing leading-edge technologies. The 2018 Minnesota Venture Conference on Nov. 7 offers a day of insights, from investment experts and startup founders, into this thriving sector. For anyone whose business depends on tech innovations – which these days is all of us – it’s critical to keep up with where tech innovations are heading.
Some of the signs of exponential entrepreneur growth: Minnesota has added more than 500 tech startups since 2015 and coworking space in the Twin Cities has quadrupled in just two years, according to tech editor Brad Anderson at ReadWrite. The Forbes’ survey of 2018 Top 10 rising cities for startups has Columbus, Ohio, at No. 1 and includes St. Louis, Cincinnati and, of course, Minneapolis-St. Paul.
The power of the Midwest entrepreneur economy is demonstrated in the investors, experts and entrepreneurs gathering for the Minnesota Venture Conference. The presenters are coming from across the Midwest, from Chicago and Columbus, Madison to Minneapolis, and more.
This year’s conference is focusing on three hot tech topics: AI/data analytics, blockchain and cybersecurity.
On the investor side, we have a lineup of national experts. Russ Felker, of Chicago-based West Monroe Partners and an expert in blockchain, will present his view on how business is already being transformed by “auditability” of activities from the sale of hard goods, medical credentialing, energy usage and more. Gene Munster, managing partner of Chicago-based Loup Ventures, will talk on how work and commerce are impacted by AI and robotics, how communication and even the brain is changing from the impact of these technologies.
The entrepreneurs pitching at the conference represent leading-edge innovators, with new business models, new technologies and new ways of applying technology. One example is Sharenomy, a Michigan-based fin-tech startup, which is using blockchain to develop a new platform for shared funding and saving that helps micro businesses and small businesses have improved access to capital. Another fin-tech startup, Silicon Prairie Portal & Exchange, has a new platform for crowdfunding of entrepreneurs and business owners. Big Wheelbarrow and TraIve have innovations to transform agriculture. DataChat, a spin-off of UW-Madison, has patented technology to analyze business conversations and turn them into valuable actionable insights.
I encourage you to take a closer look at what the MN Venture Conference has to offer. More info can be found at MnVenture.org. And I hope you will join me for a day of insights on Wednesday, November 7.