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We have two new reports available in the publications section of the website. One report highlights research on tourism partnerships and examines collaborative partnerships among other destination marketing organizations. Based upon the research and case studies within the report, recommendations have been made to the Lake of the Woods regional group. For a copy of this report, please click here. A second report is a report written by Bruce Schwartau (an Extension Educator with the Center for Community Vitality) "designed to understand retail and service business successes in 13 Greater Minnesota cities after the arrival of a Walmart Supercenter. The study also considers a snapshot in time of other businesses currently open in 2014 that either launched or expanded since a supercenter opened. It addresses the questions of what types of businesses have opened or expanded since the arrival of a Walmart Supercenter, as well as how the presence of Walmart affected the local retail and service business climate. The findings here offer guidance for communities and entrepreneurs interested in new retail businesses and business expansions". For a copy of this report, please click here.
U.S. Unemployment Rate drops to 5.9% for September
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the U.S. seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 percent for September. Nonfarm payroll employment increased with 248,000 jobs added. Professional/Business Services (81,000), Retail Trade (35,000), Leisure /Hospitality (33,000), Education/Health Services (32,000), and Construction (16,000) led the way in August job gains. There were no sectors that experienced job losses in September. Other Services showed no change. The revised numbers show 69,000 more jobs were created in July (+31,000) and August (+38,000) than originally reported. For the entire BLS September report click here.
U.S. EDA Soliciting Applications for 3 Separate Funding Opportunities
In early September, U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker announced the EDA will be providing $15 million in funding for the 2014 Regional Innovation Strategies Program competition. This includes 3 separate competitions:
  • i6 Challenge ($8 million)- “a national competition based on the most impactful national models for startup creation, innovation, and commercialization”
  • Science & Research Park Development Grants ($5 million)- “provides funding for feasibility and planning for the construction of new or expanded science or research parks, or the renovation of existing facilities”
  • Cluster Grants for Seed Capital Funds ($2 million)- “provide funding for technical assistance to support feasibility, planning, formation, or launch of cluster-based seed capital funds that are offered to innovation-based, growth-oriented start-up companies in exchange for equity”
According to the posted FFO: “Eligible applicants for EDA financial assistance under this FFO include:
1. a State;
2. an Indian tribe;
3. a city or other political subdivision of a State;
4. an entity that—
a. is a nonprofit organization, an institution of higher education, a public-private partnership, a science or research park, a Federal laboratory, or an economic development organization or similar entity; and
b. has an application that is supported by a State or a political subdivision of a State; or
5. a consortium of any of the entities described in subparagraphs (1) through (4).
For Science and Research Park Development Grants only, in addition to the types of applicants listed above, the following applicants are also eligible to apply:
6. a Hospital;
7. a Commercial organization; or,
8. a consortium of any of the entities described in subparagraphs (1) through (7).”
There were webinars with more information about these programs. The webinars were recorded and can be viewed at under the EDA Regional Innovation Grants heading. For the application package and more information, please go to
75F Named Winner of the 2014 Minnesota Cup
The prize for the best breakthrough business idea of 2014 at the Minnesota Cup goes to 75F. 75F is a Mankato, Minnesota based company, who “is an HVAC sensor technology that uses wireless zone controllers to monitor airflow temperatures in building zones to regulate building temperatures at ecologically friendly and energy efficient levels”. 75F, the Minnesota Cup winner is from the Energy/Clean Tech/Water category division was awarded the $50,000 grand prized of the Minnesota Cup, $30,000 as the Energy/Clean Tech/Water division winner plus an additional grant of $25,000 from the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation for a total of $105,000. The seven finalists in the Minnesota Cup competing for the final prize were:
  • Energy/Clean Tech/Water: 75F - Deepinder Singh, Blue Earth County
  • Food/Ag/Beverage: Trovita Health Science – William Brown, Hennepin County
  • General: YOXO - Jeff Freeland Nelson, Ramsey County
  • High Tech: Elevate - Joe Stanton, Dakota County
  • Life Science/Health IT: Andas Inc - Joseph Jensen, Hennepin County
  • Social Entrepreneur: Verde Environmental and Medsaway - Carter Anderson, Dakota County
  • Student: Jonny Pops - Connor Wray, Rice County
September 2014 Newsletter is Now Available
The EDA Center newsletter for September 2014 is now available. Click here for the pdf or here to go to the newsletter archive.
Minnesota Unemployment Drops to 4.3% in August
Minnesota unemployment was at 4.3% in August. Minnesota employers added 6,100 jobs in August. Nine sectors posted job gains: Professional/Business Services (2,500), Construction (2,500), Manufacturing (800), Information (400), Government (400), Mining/Logging (300), Other Services (300), Trade/Transportation/Utilities (200), and Educational/Health Services (100). Financial Activities (-800), and Leisure/Hospitality (-600), posted job losses in August. Minnesota added 56,311 jobs over the past year, which puts Minnesota's growth at 2 percent during that time. This exceeds the U.S. growth of 1.8 percent over the past year. Minnesota's labor participation rate dropped again to 69.8 percent. Click here for more August jobs information.
NEW REPORT AVAILABLE: Economic Emergency Program: St. Cloud Printing Plant Closure
On May 30 2014, Quad/Graphics announced the completion of its acquisition of Brown Printing Company. As part of integration plans following the acquisition, the company later announced the closure of the Quad/Graphics printing plant in St. Cloud, Minnesota. The plant currently has 280 employees who will be affected once the closure is completed as planned in late August of this year. St. Cloud area decision-makers will need timely information regarding the potential economic impact of the closure. In response, University of Minnesota Extension and the St. Cloud State University School of Public Affairs Research Institute have prepared this economic emergency report. This report is presented with support from the EDA Center at the University of Minnesota Crookston. Click here for the final report.
MMB Office Releases July Economic Update
The July Economic Update shows an overall increase in the general fund receipts. The general fund sits at $19.258 billion for FY 2014, which is $168 million above projections in the February Forecast (a 0.9% improvement). Income, sales, and corporate taxes account for $161 million of the surplus. The largest increase in revenues came from individual income taxes ($181 million). Final 2013 income tax return payments were $71 million more than forecast while income tax refunds were $93 million less than projected. General sales tax receipts were $34 million more than forecast. Conversely, corporate franchise tax receipts were $53 million short of February projections. Revenues for the final quarter of FY 2014 were $235 million more than forecast. While the general fund shows improvements, the Minnesota Management and Budget Office expects slower economic growth than previously estimated in February. IHS Economics (IHS) projected a 2.7 percent real GDP growth in 2014 and 3.3 percent in 2015 in the February Forecast. IHS now expects only a 1.7 percent growth in 2014. This would be the weakest growth in any year since the end of the recession. IHS expects growth in 2015 to average 3 percent, which is down from their original projection in February (3.3%). IHS also expects growth to be down slightly in 2016 to 3.3 percent (compared to 3.4 percent in February). The expectation is growth in 2017 will be at 3.1 percent (as it was projected in February). For the July Update at-a-glance, please click here.
Minnesota Exports Totaled $5 Billion in Q1 of 2014
The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) reported a 2 percent increase in exports between the 1st quarter of 2013 and the 1st quarter of 2014. This is less than the 2.6 percent growth in the U.S. during the same time period. Total exports for the 1st quarter of 2014 reached $5 billion. Five of the top ten countries receiving exports from Minnesota grew in the 1st quarter. The top ten countries include: Canada ($1.234 billion, -12%), China ($523 million, -2%), Mexico ($433 million, 49%), Japan ($319 million, 23%), Belgium ($250 million, 41%), Germany ($215 million, 24%), South Korea ($163 million, -4%), Australia ($139 million, 24%), United Kingdom ($136 million, -4%), and Philippines ($132 million, -5%). Exports to all other countries totaled $1.474 billion and decreased 2 percent. For the entire report, please click here.

This document was prepared by the University of Minnesota, Crookston under award number 06-66-05709 from the Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Development Administration or the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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