Chanting Points Memo: Minnesota’s Wondrous Economy

For the past six years, the standard response among Minnesota “progressives” when conservatives point to the success of Scott Walker (Milwaukee notwithstanding) is “Oh, yeah? Well, Minnesota’s doing better!”


And there has been a grain of truth to that; while much of Wisconsin’s economy is tied to dying rust-belt manufacturing centered in the southeastern part of the state, largely concentrated in cities that have been addled by half a century of “progressive” rule, Minnesota’s is heavily based on industries that are heavily subsizied (healthcare), beneficiaries of government stimuli  (financial services), or just plain hot (medical devices).

But you can only subsiidize a boom for so long.

John Hinderaker – my former NARN colleague and new president of the Center of the American Experiment – has the story; the Minnesota economy isn’t nearly as solid as the DFL’s noise machine would have you believe:

This is the conclusion of a groundbreaking paper by Joseph Kennedy, former chief economist for the U.S. Department of Commerce, which Center of the American Experiment is releasing on Monday. Kennedy’s research indicates that over the last 15 years, Minnesota has been average with regard to economic growth; below average with respect to private-sector productivity; 30th among the states in per-capita income growth, and 28th in the rate of job creation.
Similarly, the Twin Cities metropolitan area ranks average or below average among the nation’s 15 major metropolitan areas in rates of economic growth and job creation.

Why does this matter?  Because it means live in Minnesota is going to start to suck even worse than a La Nina winter:

But that isn’t the worst news. Kennedy also finds that, with respect to an alarming number of leading indicators, Minnesota’s current performance points toward below-average prosperity in the future.
Minnesota is experiencing a growing concentration of employment in industries and occupations that produce less economic output per job. Consistent with that trend, there are fewer Minnesotans working in high-tech jobs today than there were 15 years ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Minnesota’s economy is increasingly wrapped around financial services and health insurance – industries with fabulously wealthy executive classes, minimal and utterly non-innovative technical classes, and lots of service workers with stagnant wages.

Minnesota also is suffering from a decline in venture capital, a falling rate of new company formation and a decline in entrepreneurship.

Minnesota – a great place to be the CEO (of a Fortune 1000 corporation – not so much elsewhere).

Read the whole thing.  Or tune in on Saturday; Hinderaker is at least tentatively scheduled to appear on the NARN.

29 thoughts on “Chanting Points Memo: Minnesota’s Wondrous Economy

  1. Reading between the lines…it seems Minnesota is a nice place based on what we built over the past 100 years. It also helps that the Twin Cities is major magnet. I’ve worked with more people from Wisconsin, North and South Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa than I have with people from Minneapolis, St Paul or first ring suburbs.
    But it notes that start ups and entrepreneurism is way down due to the business climate. These are things that matter.
    I read a mining blog. The entire DFL party has declared war on mining. This is causing problem in NE Minnesota.

  2. I read a mining blog. The entire DFL party has declared war on mining. This is causing problem in NE Minnesota.

    Based on recent elections (the fluke of Chip Cravaack not withstanding), I would say it’s not causing that big of a problem yet. If Stewart Mills can defeat Rick Nolan and maintain his seat for 2-3 elections, then it will be a problem.

    Or maybe the range is afflicted in a similar matter as the black population nationwide: So blindered and indoctrinated, they don’t realize they’re consistently voting against their own self interest.

  3. Chuck
    it isn’t just mining that the DFL hate. Used to be in NE MN when mining was slow you could always make ends meet by picking up some work in the wood products industries – not so much any more. The DFL hates logging as much as they hate mining in fact the only thing they wholeheartedly support are the people who work in support services (resorts, motels, cafes, outfitters) around the lakes and the Boundary Waters, and of course they enthusiastically support the government workers who keep an eye on everyone to make sure they aren’t cutting more trees or digging more holes than they should.
    The problem with the Range is they can’t wean themselves from the union encrusted boom/bust cycle of the mining industry. That coal gassification plant planned for the old Hill Annex mine site would have ushered in decades of stable year round work but the word coal frightened the twin cities DFL to the point of hysteria.

  4. “Or maybe the range is afflicted in a similar matter as the black population nationwide: So blindered and indoctrinated, they don’t realize they’re consistently voting against their own self interest.”

    Bill: This is one of the more creative definitions of “stupid” I’ve read. Congrats.

  5. This is interesting. In light of Google’s recent announcement that they are opening a development center in DT Minneapolis, the IT community is buzzing with excitement that if nothing else, pay rates for app and software developers will go up. The iIT talent pool in MN, is already very tight though, so we will be back to the 1990s when people would jump ship for $2.00 per hour. The recruiters are confident that since IT tech firms are monkey see, monkey do types, that Facebook and Amazon will follow suit.

    It is also uncertain what jobs Sherwin Williams will eliminate from Valspar and Cintas will eliminate from G&K Services.

  6. It takes an average of 13 years to get a brand new medical device approved by the FDA. Venture capitalists want to see a return within 10 years. Guess what? No new medical devices.

    I consulted with a medical device company. 95% of their engineering work consisted in finding predicates for every new feature they added. If they introduced a really new feature dealing with the FDA would have literally put them out of business.

  7. I keep reading about the housing BOOM going on up there. Let me tell you something; that’s bullshit.

    Although I managed to sell off 2 income properties for a minimal loss, I have yet to sell my primary residence in Mendota Heights. We had it on the market last year, but accepting the offers we got would have cost us more than 25 grand. I have two sons living there now, and they cover the mortgage, but my damn property taxes have gone through the roof! We’ve decided to take the loss next spring to be finally shut of Minnesota.

    Conversely, we just made a tidy sum flipping a house down here, and are plowing that profit into a pair of 4-plexes which are fully leased already.

    A healthy economy, happiness living among folks that despise leftists almost as much as I do…life is good.

    If anyone is looking for a house up there, let me know; I don’t want to send in another buck to Governor Prozac if I don’t have to.

  8. swiftee,
    while this is a deeply skewed assessment:
    it describes the root of the “boom” in TC properties. Wall St basically laid a grid over the TC and systematically purchased a staggering amount of the housing stock based on a utilization matrix reminiscent of the blitherings of the Humphrey Institute and the Met Council. The hedge funds are renting the properties (hence the boom in property mgmt. services) not selling or developing them. This sets an artificial floor on rents and supports unwarranted property valuations and tax revenues (think of Manhattan or SF for models). The cities love it because fewer of the property owners resist public policy changes. Properties that the hedge funds didn’t identify as “acquisition value” (i.e. not easily converted to future density or demographic projections for one reason or another) are not seeing the valuation growth that otherwise similar properties in the targeted corridors/neighborhoods are experiencing. The TC marginal lifestyle progressives have a nasty surprise waiting for them in the 2020s when “suddenly” you will need a 6-figure income to live in the city. That’s the plan, you’re right to get out of the market.

  9. DG
    in order to save everyone having to endure 1000+ words of your ignorant blithering here’s a hint about searching through the 340K+ properties in Henco. Cargill owns a lot of property in Henco but very little of it is in the corporate name, the majority is owned by “Dewey Cheatem and Howe” style LLC/LLPs that after you go down the rabbithole after them are owned by law firms who work for Cargill. The same is true of hedge funds. You probably wont find the name of Blackstone or Generation Investment Management (GIM, founded by Al Gore) or any other hedge fund on the property records, just lots of LLC/LLP identities.

  10. In light of Google’s recent announcement that they are opening a development center in DT Minneapolis, the IT community is buzzing with excitement that if nothing else, pay rates for app and software developers will go up.

    Hmm. Scroogle is no business dummy. The only reason for them to open anything in MPLS is to take advantage of either tax breaks on being there or cheap labor. They are moving to MPLS to save money, not spend it. And if things are going so well in MSP, there would be no need to offer tax breaks nor would there be cheap labor. It is logic and economics 101, not that any libturd would comprehend.

  11. Kel: …when “suddenly” you will need a 6-figure income to live in the city.

    You’ll either need a 6-figure income or no income and tons of subsidies. Which is why Manhattan and SF have the highest income disparity in the country, because the left will subsidize the poor and milk everyone else.

    The problem for the progressives is that they will drive out the middle class to the suburbs where they won’t be under their control. Which is why we’re getting a push for “public transportatation” now, so that they can get control back.

  12. A couple of observations; this is a paper, not a study.

    Papers per se are not especially significant precisely because they are not reviewed the way other research is.

    It won’t be critiqued or peer reviewed, so therefore it can spew whatever right wing rubbish your Koch affiliated buddies over at the bogus right wing ‘think tank’ aka (propaganda pushers) want to promote without regard to serious economic analysis. Given the track record of your former colleague at NARN, I have to wonder if all of the paper or only selected negative aspects will even be published.

    I know some of your Mitch-bots persistently struggle with the concept of ‘taken out of context’. Let me help them to grasp this basic concept. As an example of taking out of context, Rudy Guiliani just claimed that there were no (ZERO) Islamic terrorist attacks on the US under Dubya.

    Context would be Rudy Guiliani then adding “That would be of course EXCEPT the attack on 9/11.” Taking out of context would be dropping the modifying sentence which significantly changes Guiliani’s statement.

    Actually in this instance Guiliani is getting a lot of flack because he did NOT in fact state “except for the attack on 9/11” which is hilarious given how much he has exploited and dined out on being mayor of NYCity at the time. His defense for his omission was that he was speaking in an abbreviated way, and that OBVIOUSLY he meant “except for 9/11”. The criticism of his statement is fair to the extent that he made an obvious gaffe, but more so because there really were OTHER Islamic attacks besides 9/11; but I would argue that Guiliani has a point in his claim that there was an implied context to his statements. Because I want to be more fair than your Mitch bots who keep denying that context changes the meaning of something said or written.

    Just because Kennedy USED to work for the US Dept of Commerce doesn’t mean anything in this as yet unreleased paper is right, nor does it argue that Wisconsin is not doing far worse — unless you have a comparable paper analyzing Wisconsin? It appears there is none. And geeze, under Walker manufacturing like the company that made train cars LEFT Wisconsin; there is zero evidence that the Walker tax cut policy has ever created ANY jobs. Also Walker has been criticized, quite legitimately, for using the entity that was supposed to generate jobs improperly as a kind of cash cow. Speaking of cows, you conveniently ignore the significant ag sector in WI…..

    There is considerable evidence that MN is doing well, by multiple metrics, and that this criticism is not valid, since it conflicts with the views of many economists as prominent or more prominent that Joe V. Kennedy (and yes, I checked out his credentials).

    This is called cherry picking Mitch; it is dishonest. It is where you take a source out of the larger context of evidence on the topic, without critical questioning, from a biased source, and try to give it more credence than it merits.

    I look forward to reading the actual paper, and not just Hindrakers’ spin on it, or yours.

  13. they will drive out the middle class to the suburbs

    Until suburbs are burned down by BLM. Intended consequences.

  14. jpa,

    It is exactly due to lower labor rates and lower real estate costs.

    Apparently, this move was made after Shutterfly and Amazon established facilities here. Of course, Amazon can’t fill all of the openings and have asked Shakopee for an extension of the deadline to have X number of people employed by X date to get their bribery, I mean incentive money.

  15. this is a paper, not a study

    Not sure why it matters.

    And it’s interesting that you get scruples about the distinction now – having passed off social-science metastudies and even undergrad monographs as”studies” in the past.

    Hinderaker’s “spin” is, in fact, the fact. More on the show this weekend.

  16. Papers per se are not especially significant precisely because they are not reviewed the way other research is.

    Mann’s hockey stick paper was peer reviewed. Game, set, match. Go dig a hole to bury your bone somewhere else.

  17. Peer review is an academic process; at best, it indicates that that the case is valid and the data stands up. Not that the case is the correct one.

    That’s at best.

  18. DG, you said “Papers per se are not especially significant precisely because they are not reviewed the way other research is.”

    did you know that the Beige Book is not peer reviewed?

    what a relief it will be for Wall St not to pay attention to that unreviewed collection of anecdotes every 6 weeks.

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  20. Regarding DG’s nonsense, I’ve personally taken part in peer review of papers, and when a paper presents numeric results, it ipso facto a representation, good or bad, of the study or studies which produced the data. So any distinction between a “paper” and a “study” is really meaningless. Both data and analysis are subject to peer review, and in this case, the data were apparently taken by the Department of Commerce, which is generally concluded to be a decent, if not perfect, source.

    Peer review in itself can also be good or bad. At its best, it ensures basic standards, and at its worst, it enforces conformity to a majority hypothesis. DG’s heartfelt desire appears to be for the latter.

  21. “it enforces conformity to a majority hypothesis. DG’s heartfelt desire appears to be for the latter.”

    DG is consistently the single most reactionary left wing voice on this site

  22. The meaning of the word “paper” (meaning essay) is context dependent.
    There is good research and bad research. Some pretty bad research is peer reviewed and published. Meta studies are awful. Some publications won’t touch them (usually a big no-no in medicine, sorta okay in psychology). The reason some publications allow meta studies is because meta studies are cheap. Have a grad student review existing research and cherry pick the results you want, mash them together into new ‘research.’
    If you are a publication and you start accepting meta studies, the volume of submissions jumps — but your pub take a hit on credibility.
    A lot of peer reviewed social science is a joke. The ‘subjects’ are usually undergrads from the same age/social class demographic.
    In the idiotic “Stanford Prison Experiment” of the early ’70s, the roles of both prisoners and guards were played by people of the same age from the same upper middle class background. Yet the experimenters didn’t think that they were studying people like themselves, they thought that they were studying humanity. Jesus what a joke.

  23. Not that the case is the correct one. nor is the data valid.

    There, fixed it for you. Peer-review means nothing if your peers are just as corrupt as you are. It is a self-congratulating echo chamber and nothing else, especially when all opposing thought is forbidden, a la AGW. The whole peer review concept is bunk. Similarly, just imagine if alleged perps were REALLY judged by the jury of their peers. There would not be a single conviction – not a one.

  24. Okay, I will concede the peer-review concept is valid, but the practice has been perverted and subordinated and is no longer a basis for a valid argument.

  25. Exactly, JPA. When your peers are just as messed up as you are, why bother?

    Case in point; the APA’s campaign to normalize all manner of mental illnesses the left has found useful to exploit. Tons of PEER REVIEWED!!!!!!!! studies out there, not a one that is worth a shit.

  26. What JPA says about peer review being valid, but political. On my own blog, I’ve often had a lot of fun pointing out basic flaws of logic and method sailing through peer review because it’s politically favored. “oops”. Or intentional.

  27. Michael Bellisales’ book “The Arming of America” was highly acclaimed and won prestigious awards. And then it was revealed as a lie. The awards were revoked, he lost his job, massive egg on gun-controllers’ faces.

    That book passed peer review.

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