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.