Saturday, September 29, 2007
In metro area, growth takes a hit
Last update: September 27, 2007 – 8:39 PM
A new snapshot of U.S. urban economies shows the Twin Cities under a cloud. But it's a picture taken from a distance.
In a study of 363 metro areas, two of every three performed better than Minneapolis, St. Paul and Bloomington in 2005, in the federal government's first attempt to measure the dollar value of all goods and services produced in select U.S. cities.
Slowdowns in construction, finance and insurance, and arts, entertainment and recreation industries left the Twin Cities ranked No. 254 in the experimental database created by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Estimated overall economic growth in the Twin Cities was a meager 1.4 percent, after adjusting for inflation. Nationwide, metro growth averaged 3 percent in 2005.
A chief bright spot for the Twin Cities was information technology, which grew at a 9 percent pace, albeit more slowly than the double-digit gains in each of the three years before. Another major industry, manufacturing, grew at a 3 percent clip -- or more than twice the pace of the overall Twin Cities economy. But manufacturing growth, too, decelerated from earlier years.
The minor little tidbit of information that the story neglects to mention is the record unprecedented number of closed bars and restaurants in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Bloomington since enactment of smoking bans in early 2005. But Clearing the Air has chronicled 133 closed establishments to date. And with 20-50 employees per closed facility; 2600 - 6500 unemployed workers will have an effect on a local economy.
Keep in mind unemployed individuals, no matter how well intentioned the (smoking ban) law, don't purchase new homes, cars, or other incidental material goods......contributing to the economic downturn.
Minnesota State unemployment figures openly report the job losses of hospitality workers, 2,100 in just one month. However the Star Tribune's editorial agenda openly supported and led the push for smoking bans, of course then the Strib is loathe to highlight their role in destroying the local economy.
One can almost see how the Star Tribune could overlook such a minor detail though, especially since none of the 2,600 - 6500 workers were union members.
And let's not forget the role that pharmaceutical interests (RWJF a division of the Johnson & Johnson Company, maker of Nicoderm, and Nicoderm CQ) and the non-profits they financed (such as American Lung Assoc. of MN etc.) also contributed to damaging the local Twin Cities economy.
I wonder if we'll see an editorial apology anytime soon from Star Tribune?