A radio caller wants me to give Grand Forks a grade for their economic performance in the last year. Here are some of the questions we need to answer first.
Replacement was another idea we talked about in the population analysis class this week. Essentially it is an estimate of the deaths and migratory outflows from the area over a specified period of time and is called replacement because it is what you would need to replace in order for population to remain the same. Not really terribly complicated, but it is a nice complement to the idea of turnover and I generated both the level and the rate for counties in North Dakota.
I imagine the different sectors of economic activity in any state argue about their relative importance. Lately the contest in North Dakota has been about the relative importance of agriculture and mining. My personal opinion is that if the data support an actual argument of this point than you are fortunate enough. These debates rage though and so I tend to investigate. There are many different ways to approach these types of questions but I am not going to go through a refereeing of different methods. I will just go through what I think the data are trying to impart to us.
I get many questions about local economic development these days. The specific geography is usually either Grand Forks, city, county or metropolitan area, or the counties in northeast North Dakota. These questions come on the radio, from newspaper reporters, and general conversations from the public. The basic form of the question is, “What can or should Grand Forks do to grow and develop?”
Economic development and economic growth are key ideas in any state or area, but clearly are a hot topic in North Dakota. The economic success in North Dakota represents an incredible opportunity to catch up in areas perceived to behind and to move into areas that will define the future. It is essentially North Dakota’s opportunity to write its own ticket. What I see missing from the discussion right now is a meaningful discussion on the fiscal side.