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.

Interested in being an Economic Lookout? Contact us directly at MinnEcon.

Olson is a western Minnesota writer and Big Stone County commissioner

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