What will change in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic? We’ve started coming back together; and when we do, we’ve all been talking about the “lost year,” what’s changed, what hasn’t. I’ve heard and read some things that surprised me, and thought I’d share them with you. I also had some fun researching this question. One writer described the pandemic as “an accelerant and a polarizer.” I thought that was uniquely apt. The Washington Post wrote a great article about this, reflecting on the similarly impactful influenza epidemic of 1918. Gains for some this past year and moving forward often are losses for others. Changes in how we travel, for example, also impact airlines, tourism, hospitality industry. More remote work means less revenue in our downtowns. It’s such a mixed bag. We are inextricably intertwined, aren’t we?
Not sure yet
One more thing: the Fed continues to track economic recovery. Its latest 5-minute survey is still open; your input matters!
See you in the trenches.
Rising virus cases in Minnesota fuel an uptick in hospitalizations. # of patients in the state has topped 100 for 5 of the last 6 days. Meanwhile, we are seeing increasing pressure worldwide for vaccinations. CDC says the U.S. is ‘not out of the woods’ due to the highly infectious Delta variant.
Are you considering mandating the vaccine for employees? Here are 5 best practices to follow.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis is monitoring economic conditions in the region: COVID-19 and the Ninth District economy: A dashboard.
Also, join Ron Wirth to hear an update from the Federal Reserve on Regional Economic Conditions: Register here for a virtual event on August 24.
The future of the labor market: read about unemployment insurance and how the expiration of benefits will impact labor force participation. Morning Consult anticipates that wage pressures are likely to retreat as the labor market normalizes, while Emsi Burning Glass anticipates a long-term shortage of workers and continued higher wages/bonuses as an incentive to hold onto workers in a brutally competitive market ahead.
Delta and Air Canada resuming nonstop routes to cities in Canada.
Frontier adding nonstop route between MSP and Las Vegas.
Updates on transit: $4M federal grant to Metro Transit will deploy more electric buses in the metro area. And re LRT: Riverview’s June 23 virtual open house can be watched here, and will help shape the final document before it is presented to the Policy Advisory Committee yet this month; Southwest LRT’s rocky mess due to project delays and cost overruns.
Read more updates in our weekly Chamber Advocacy Update
Former Ecolab CEO, Doug Baker, joins energy-services firm JIT Services as owner.
What’s going on with your Chamber?
We have a few tickets left for our VIP Vikings Training Camp Experience, Return to the #BoldNorth, on August 4. Consider joining us! Our next session in this year’s Equity Leadership Series. Together we are improving workplace culture. Being Ready for Today’s Employees: Creating a Sense of Belonging. Join our virtual event on August 18!
These disconnects fueling turnover in the COVID-19 era. Three chasms: debate over flexibility; the status of vaccinations; employees feeling disconnected from their companies/missions.
Why do CEOs get fired? Change efforts will likely fail without enough buy-in from employees.
Young Professionals: the time is right to get together. Our annual Boat Cruise is back on for August 18. Enjoy an evening on the water and connect with other Twin Cities young professionals. I’ll be there too!
Goff Public offers pro bono services to organizations working to achieve racial equity. They’ve done it before, and they want to do it again! Take the opportunity – this is a really strong organization. Fill out this form on their website by August 31.
Check out the new Full Stack Saint Paul website! Take a look and learn more about its history, Steering Committee, and strategies to amplify tech and innovation.
Minnesota ranks #3 nationwide in U.S. prosperity study, the highest ranking among all Midwest states.
Ramsey County’s new Inclusive Workplaces Cohort is now accepting applications. Deadline to apply is August 9.
Capstone Quadrangle plans 232K SF spec industrial project in Burnsville.
The next evolution of Dixie’s on Grand took a leap forward on Friday. Five-story replacement for Dixie’s on Grand wins Planning Commission support. Restaurateur Peter Kenefick and developer Reuter Walton plan an 80-unit, market-rate apartment building in place of the currently 1-story structure. The plan incorporates Saji Ya and Emmett’s Public House at ground level, with room for a 3rd and maybe a 4th retail space.
Gaining a foothold: read about Johnny Opara, a Twin Cities-based developer of color. He estimates that less than 1% of all developers in the metro are Black. And read about LISC Twin Cities report conducted by Minnesota-based JOG Associates, which details the challenges faced by developers of color. Worth taking the time to study.
Mystery project in Cottage Grove may hire 1,300 workers, according to developer. NorthPoint Development is leading a 2.4M SF, $212M project that could break ground this fall, one of the largest industrial projects in the Cities. But who is the anchor tenant – and client?
Demand for industrial space never higher in the Twin Cities. Industrial real estate is experiencing “unprecedented demand.
What Does Freedom Mean To You?
As I imagine you have, I’ve been reading a lot about the FTC, antitrust, the “FANG” legislation being considered, and listening to discussions about freedom vs protections when it comes to large companies. And it has gotten me thinking… what exactly DOES freedom mean to you? And what are you willing to pay for it?
When I was in the military, I served in West Germany. Yes, “West.” That was back in the mid-1980s, when we were still in the Cold War, the Berlin Wall was still a thing, and the Soviet Union was considered to be our greatest threat. At that time, and still today really, we could find much rhetoric about “freedom.” So what does freedom mean to you?
I always had thought that freedom was a generally understood concept. In the U.S., we embrace the concept of “freedom TO,” as defined in our Constitution’s Bill of Rights: we are free to speak our mind, to practice our preferred religion, to bear arms, etc. Regardless of the degree to which you experience these freedoms, or feel they are being challenged, they remain the guideposts by which we discuss and evaluate “freedom.”
I learned during my time in Germany that not all people understand freedom this way. You see, under Communism, freedom is a “freedom FROM”: from unemployment, from homelessness. The government controlled most property and economic resources. Citizens were promised economic security. And they paid a very steep price for it.
Can you imagine the chaos when the two economies, cultures, ideologies – and these two definitions - collided?
Fast forward to today again, I still ponder on the balance of freedom and protections – particularly within the context of business. What do you think?
See you in the trenches.
Coronavirus update, Friday July 16: Roughly 68% of eligible Minnesotans have received at least 1 vaccine dose. The current 7-day rolling average for test positivity is 1.5%. Hospitalizations and deaths remain at the lowest levels in more than a year.
Fully vaccinated Americans may enter Canada as of mid-August. Canada is leading G20 countries with 80% of eligible Canadians vaccinated with 1st dose, over 50% fully vaccinated.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis is tracking the economic recovery among businesses across the Ninth District, a region that includes Minnesota, the Dakotas, Montana, parts of Wisconsin, and Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Please take this 5-minute survey to help the Minneapolis Fed and President Neel Kashkari better understand effects on your firm.
Over 3M Adults Plan on Re-Entering the Labor Force Within 12 Months: Roughly 2/3 of pre-pandemic workers who left the labor force due to home responsibilities or disability are planning to resume working within the next year. That compared with just over 40% of early retirees. This report aligns with the Fed’s preference to see more progress in the labor market before phasing out monetary support.
DEED’s Main Street Revitalization Program launches August 3. This $80M statewide economic redevelopment program will award grants to partner organizations to establish programs within specific communities that will, in turn, fund projects. Here’s a link to DEED’s virtual town hall meeting on July 15.
Minnesota’s Job Numbers for June: unemployment rate held steady at 4%, labor participation steady at 61.6%. State’s employers have brought back nearly 60% of the jobs lost due to the pandemic (job growth has outpaced the U.S. so far, at 6.4%); and many jobs remain open. June is usually a boon month, but we saw a modest loss of jobs this year. We’ll see what happens in September when enhanced unemployment benefits expire and schools re-open. DEED’s Grove is eminently quotable: the latest data shows “you don’t just sail out of a global health pandemic.” Here’s a link to DEED’s June Unemployment Rate Press Conference on July 15.
Minnesota’s MMB’s latest revenue and economic update through June: Minnesota tax revenues continuing to surpass projections. Shows state tax collections continuing to soar over predictions. In the five months since the official February forecast — the document used by the Legislature to build the current state budget — tax revenues came in $2.684 billion higher than expected.
Q2 earnings look good across the board, among them: Delta, US Bank, Wells Fargo, UnitedHealth.
Is anyone surprised? Twin Cities median home sales prices jump 12.7% in June to $355K.
Metro Transit is doubling down on safety, adding more police and community service officers.
Your Chamber PA team is looking forward to 2022, starting with an annual refresh on our advocacy areas of focus and legislative priorities.
Read more updates in our weekly Chamber Advocacy Update.
It is exciting to see the momentum building with our Welcome Back campaign. If you are following our calendar (which you should), you’ve noticed the embarrassment of riches we have downtown when it comes to events.
MSPBJ national survey: yes, Minneapolis/St. Paul is ready for in-person events!
“The Great Resignation”? Burnout is fueling record turnover – a recent survey found 41% of respondents felt burned out at work. Here’s how companies can combat it.
As a leader, when you make the wrong call, how do you cope? Take a look at A leader’s guide to being wrong for 3 ways to prepare for and deal with the moment when things go astray.
Wells Fargo grants $12M for community development. It’s focus: CDFIs to support women and diverse entrepreneurs.
U.S. Bancorp has helped develop a $30M bond to finance loans for housing developers of color.
What are HR leaders’ top 5 priorities for 2021?
Highland Bridge development progress is ‘right on cue.’ Groundbreaking was 1 year ago; and progress is moving steadily ahead. When complete, the site will hold 3,800 market rate and affordable housing units, 150K SF of retail space, 265K SF of office, and 55 acres of parks, recreation fields, open space, and waterways.
Work continues with Ramsey County and AECOM on RiversEdge. The county is seeking state bonding for public park space to connect downtown to the river.
A Tale of Two Markets: The Future of Commercial Real Estate in the Twin Cities.
Those of you who know me well, also know that I track manufacturing activity as a leading indicator of economic direction. The Institute for Supply Management® reports a monthly Purchasing Managers Index. Roughly speaking, anything above 50% indicates economic growth. Anything below, economic contraction.
What is it telling us about where we are right now? Economic activity in the manufacturing sector grew in June, with the overall economy notching a 13th consecutive month of growth, after the sharp contraction in April 2020. As of June, the national Manufacturing PMI® is at 60.6%. Down slightly from May, largely due to supply chain instability, this is still very strong. New orders, production, and backlog all are growing. Indeed, manufacturers are struggling to meet the demand. They are seeing record-long raw material lead times, higher commodities pricing, and difficulties with transportation. Indeed, recovery was showing its face in these numbers as early as early as July of 2020.
This may seem like an odd measure to track, and yet – I’ve been watching it since before the Great Recession of 2007-2009. At that time I was spending a lot of time with manufacturers, and they told me a downturn was coming – long before the rest of us saw it. They said, “orders simply dried up in mid-2007.” Most of us “felt” the Recession in early 2008, though the economists who measure such things indicate it began in late 2007.
What does the PMI tell us about recovery after the pandemic? Full speed ahead. In April of 2020, U.S. manufacturing measured the sharpest contraction since the Great Recession, with a PMI of 41.5%. By June of 2020, however, manufacturing activity had regained its momentum and it’s been increasing steadily ever since. This trajectory supports what many have felt about the pandemic: the economic fundamentals were strong; we were just…. stopped. The sense has been that, once the stoppage was, uh, stopped, demand would come roaring back.
Should you want to be “in the know,” you can read the ISM’s regular reports here.
A pause for those of us who know or were blessed by William Faulkner. He passed on July 3, at the age of 94. A WWII US Navy veteran, he served the Minnesota business community for more than 50 years. He also was a St. Paul Area Chamber Board Chair in 1984, and served on several nonprofit boards. In his own words, “it was all for the family.” We are better for him.
And finally: your Chamber is so honored to be among a strong field of finalists for Chamber of the Year, recognized nationally by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE). Winners in each of the 4 categories will be announced on July 20. We’ll be sure to keep you posted!
See you in the trenches.
Minnesota to reduce COVID-19 vaccination sites after 70% goal reached.
Fauci: Too soon to say if Americans may need vaccine booster. So, maybe – but not yet.
Investigations into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic are ongoing, but Avril Haines, director of national intelligence, said we may never know the true answer.
Rising cost of materials means fewer contracts, smaller profits for builders, says Federal Reserve survey conducted in late May.
Gas prices are projected to increase up to 20 cents over the summer, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). This is in part due to the lack of consensus from OPEC and its allies about oil production levels – and pushed by robust – and growing - demand.
Regional economic conditions: Professional Services Sector: Attend a free webinar on Wed, Jul 14, 9-9:30am, with the Mpls Fed’s Joe Mahon to discuss the latest results from a June survey of services firms.
July’s U.S. Economic Outlook: Waiting for Liftoff. After a sluggish May, the U.S. economy laid the foundation in June for liftoff later this year. Americans are slowly going back to work and returning to look for work, but the rapid jobs recovery many economists expected remains elusive.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will testify at the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday and the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday. Why is this worth watching? The largest U.S. banks will report earnings next week. Chair Powell is getting pressure to “tap the brakes” on the rebounding economy.
Minnesota’s Special Session: interested in a recap and an update on where the big issues landed? Great summary here.
Highlights of the Omnibus Tax Bill include:
Read more updates in our weekly Chamber Advocacy Update and more about advocacy this week via our Public Affairs Newsletter
Join us on Wednesday, July 14, for our final virtual “Fun Is Good” membership meeting series, with Mike Veeck and Ila Borders, presented by Securian Financial! Learn how to Dream Big and Wildly Succeed (oh, and work hard too!)/
Be sure to bookmark WelcomeBackStPL.com - new events are added daily!
Here’s a look at reopening dates for major concert and theatrical venues in the Twin Cities.
State of MN Hire a Veteran Month - https://www.careerforcemn.com/HireaVeteran
In a recent Vistage survey: 71% of CEOs plan to expand their workforce in the year ahead. Read Employee Development: The CEO’s Competitive Advantage. The report is free and details, among other things, the key components of employee development.
Join us on Thursday, July 15, for a virtual experience with Breaking Ice: Courageous Conversations on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. This is an award-winning program of Pillsbury House Theatre, opening doors for courageous and productive conversations. I LOVE these programs!
DEED is recruiting community members to serve as grant reviewers for adult and youth workforce development training grants during the summer and fall of 2021. They will provide a small stipend to eligible community reviewers. Training will be required and provided. Ready to apply as a community reviewer? Please submit a short application form.
Ramsey County Open for Business program provides direct technical assistance and support to small business owners and entrepreneurs. Attend an Open House to learn of the benefits your business can utilize.
The SBA announced that it is reconvening the Council on Underserved Communities under the authority of the Federal Advisory Committee Act. In conjunction with the Biden-Harris Administration’s agenda, the restoration of the Council will help support the SBA’s prioritization of equity across its programs and initiatives. The Council will consist of 20 diverse stakeholders from every region of the country tasked with advising the SBA on strengthening and improving its strategies to help underserved communities. Nominee Information Form. The deadline is July 20th.
West St. Paul is where it’s at! How Robert Street’s resurgence has re-energized West St. Paul. And West St. Paul’s current projects total more than $200 million.
Metro Transit, expecting commuter recovery, says it'll boost light rail, bus service. Gearing up for the anticipated return-to-office and back-to-school this fall, Metro Transit will be restoring some routes that haven't been operating during the Covid-19 pandemic and adding more trips to others that are expected to get busier.
Met Council awards nearly $500K in pre-development grants to help jumpstart a handful of urban revitalization projects in Mpls, St. Paul, and Brooklyn Park. Included is $150K in support of the Rondo Land Bridge.
The 4-year $240M, 10-mile reconstruction of I35W is approaching its completion in September(!) The next project is even bigger: I494 construction project will overhaul the highway from the MSP International Airport to Hwy 169.
For more about building capacity, check out our Public Affairs Newsletter.