Economic Lookout: The economy as your neighbors see it

Brent Olson is a Big Stone County commissioner who keeps a close eye on the western Minnesota economy. In May, he told us about spotting some hopeful economic signs in his hometown of Clinton.

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Brent Olson | Otrey Township, Big Stone County

In this latest post, he tries a cool experiment. “In one pleasant evening when we had a house full of people…I asked them to tell me what they wanted to about the economy.”

The result: short videos that open a window on how our friends and neighbors are doing in the recession.

Given today’s economic news, I thought this was a great time to post these. Minnesota’s July jobless rate came in at 6.8 percent, unchanged from June.

The data came with some positive signs — Minnesota has added 29,100 jobs over the past 12 months — mixed with the reality that construction and other sectors are still struggling badly and job-wise, it’s a long climb back.

The recent gathering at Olson’s house offered a range of views and experiences on the state’s labor market, which intrigued him. He wanted to get their unfiltered accounts.

“The guests ranged from a 17 year old about to be a high school senior who needed more hours (working) at the nursing home to a University of Minnesota employee with a PhD and a statewide staff,” he told us.

Check out Olson’s videos, then post your thoughts below. Tell us what you’re seeing in this economy.

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Olson is a western Minnesota writer and Big Stone County commissioner



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