Research to show economic trends and business opportunities in the Northland

By KBJR News 1

November 19, 2013 Updated Nov 19, 2013 at 11:03 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- A major research program in the Northland will soon provide measurements and analyses' of our region's economic trends and business opportunities.

The goal is to spur economic growth and development throughout the Arrowhead region.

A "Regional Economic Indicators Forum", will be held in the Twin Ports every six months, to present the findings of economic development in 15 counties across northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.

"It will measure the attitudes of local businesses and their hiring plans and their capital expenditure plans," said Robert Hoffman, an assistant professor at the College of St. Scholastica.

The National Bank of Commerce is funding the research for the program, which is being gathered by experts from three Duluth-Superior universities.

"It kind of showcases the power that the universities have to drive change in their communities, and to drive economic development through applied research," said Renne Wachter, chancellor at the University of Wisconsin - Superior.

Four students were hired to do the bulk of the research.

"The students will become aware of all the opportunities there are for employment in the local community," said Hoffman.

Researchers say demographic tracking will be one of the most important parts of the research.

"As everybody knows demographics is always changing and moving around and one of the things that we want to do is have current information on the population and the residents here," said James Skurla, director of business and economic research at the University of Minnesota - Duluth.

Steve Burgess, CEO of the National Bank of Commerce, says the research will allow for local business people and government officials to make better economic decisions going forward.

"If this can be a catalyst to spur further economic development and growth, that's what we'd like to see happen," said Burgess.

... all in an effort to boost the regional economy.

The first forum announcing the latest research results will be held at the DECC in Duluth on March 25th.

Elsa Robins