I had to finish the statistics and report for a grant project so there was a break from the blogging. Now that the Cubs are actually playing meaningful baseball in October I am not sure how often I will get back to this, but I will try. I mentioned this graph recently when talking with local business people and thought I would replicate it here.

Continue reading Grand Forks Employment: A Road to Where?

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That does not mean they actually mean anything. My dad sent me a Chicago news station story about the Cubs game tonight. The story explained that the start time of the game in military format was 19:08, and 1908 was the last year the Cubs won the World Series. By the way did you know the Ottoman Empire still existed the last time the Cubs won the World Series? We can go on with that all night. 

Continue reading Numbers never lie, but …

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JT tends to ask me the following question: “What worries me about the outlook for ND?” Over the last few years I answered that there was not much. That was then, this is now. North Dakota hit its first oil price catastrophe for this round of the oil boom and we are watching to see the consequences. One of the issues that worries me has to do with the demographics for the state as a whole. In this piece I will focus on the 65-and-over population and later on we can talk about other dimensions.

Continue reading Fewer Shades of Grey in ND

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JT and I talked many times about pensions and the unfortunate arithmetic behind most defined-benefit pensions. We keep seeing issues arise with the pensions in places like Detroit, or now Illinois. To reiterate, I have no issue with the defined-benefit pension plan in theory. The issues I have focus on the management, or should I say mismanagement, of the pension plan. The mismanagement really falls into two categories: investment of pension fund assets bordering on fraud and, a seemingly willful ignorance about the changes in life spans for people (in this case plan recipients).

Continue reading Penchant for Pensions

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