Trade policy is a hot topic right now with the global system clearly moving away from a more open system to a more closed system rife with tariffs and retaliatory tariffs, and I am sure pre-emptive retaliatory tariffs (if you see this out there I claim ownership of the term). Rather than some abstract reasoned argument, which typically favors free trade in my opinion, I thought we should look at the data. I know, I know. What do I hope to accomplish by bringing facts into the discussion.
I am forgoing the typical numerical analysis for the purposes of the current post and just trying to reason through the problem that is economic development and economic development policy in Grand Forks. I got to spend some time in other cities over the last few days and so I have some fairly fresh points of comparison in mind.
The recent announcement of the closure of Sears in Grand Forks brings up one of the tried and true topics for me on the Jarrod Thomas Radio Show (KNOX, 1310 AM Grand Forks): what is happening to the retail landscape in Grand Forks? I am sure this is a topic I will be talking about on the radio tomorrow (special time this week).
Working on a paper for presentation at a conference this summer and chair work took much of this week away from my blogging. Oh and a revise and resubmit. That is not helping either. I keep getting excited by the paper though. It is a continuation of a master’s thesis I supervised and the former student, now co-author, really likes the topic too. We are looking at fertility and the impact of various employment classifications for women and their partners. We have around 2.2 million observations so if a variable is not significant we know it is NOT significant.
The May release came out earlier this week and was a real whopper. It was quite high and well outside the 95% confidence interval of the forecast from last month. We need another month, or months, of data to determine the impacts of the tax increase though. This number could be high in anticipation of the higher rate, or it could be pent up demand shifted to March due to bad weather in January or February. Easter also occurred in March this year and, as my forecasting class saw, that increased sales tax collections in Grand Forks in the past so it could be that situation again. It could also be related to tax cuts at the federal level though I am a bit skeptical that it would just start showing up in spending data for March. Like I said though we need to see where it is at over the next few months before determining the longer term trajectory. Here is the updated forecast.