UW-Superior students and faculty partner with community to research economic trends in the Northland - Mar 29, 2014 - University News - UW-Superior News and Events

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UW-Superior students and faculty partner with community to research economic trends in the Northland

Posted on Mar 29, 2014
Inaugural Regional Economic Indicators Forum (REIF) held at DECC
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UW-Superior students and faculty partner with community to research economic trends in the Northland

UW-Superior students and faculty were part of a three school partnership to study the Northland economy. The introduction of their research results were announced on Tuesday, March 25 at the DECC.

Economics professor David Johnson along with Zamira Simkins are both involved with the project, they each have six students each involved in the research. Simkins said, "I am currently working with a group of 6 undergraduate students (Jemide Besinfe, Kimberly Pospychalla, Calvin Wing, Brian Bellin, Yiwen Li, and Elliot Charette) conducting a local consumer survey (for the target area of 15 counties in MN and WI). The survey results will be used to generate three economic indicators of how consumers rate their current financial situation, what economic outlook consumers have for the future, and how current economic conditions are affecting consumer spending."

Base line results of the first-ever, long-term economic research study of the Northland were unveiled at the first Regional Economic Indicators Forum (REIF) on March 25, 2014.

David Johnson is working with a group of students collecting financial indicators (such as stock prices and market returns of firms with a large employment base in this region). The common purpose is to develop indices that can be used to anticipate the business cycle (whether the economy will expand or contract in a near future).

The project is a unified regional effort by economists and student researchers at UW-Superior, The College of St. Scholastica, and the University of Minnesota-Duluth. It is made possible through the generous support of the National Bank of Commerce and governed by an advisory committee that includes:

  • University of Wisconsin-Superior
  • Wisconsin Small Business Development Center at UW-Superior
  • National Bank of Commerce
  • College of St. Scholastica
  • Northeast Minnesota's Small Business Development Center
  • University of Minnesota Duluth

The REIF study focuses on economic trends in a 15-county region of Wisconsin and Minnesota. Results will continuously build a base of information and provide pertinent data that will measure the progress of the economy and spur new ideas for economic growth and prosperity.

Simkins said the research will be conducted year around. "The survey methodology follows the University of Michigan consumer survey, which is used to generate economic indicators for the US economy as a whole. In general, changes in these indicators precede changes in the economy, with strong consumer confidence and expectations paving the way to economic expansion, as personal consumption and expenditures rise, whereas a weakening consumer sentiment and expectations have the opposite effect."

Goals of the project are to:

  • Support business owners in their business decisions by gathering key local economic indicators and trend information
  • Develop specific economic indicators for this region that are not readily available to decision makers
  • Develop tools to assess our progress in economic growth. Prepare baseline measures that will allow comparison with other regions and measure future progress of the region
  • Track the region's participation in the "new economy" and development in the high tech arena
  • Bring professionals together with business owners for discussion about the local economy and related critical issues in a collaborative, non-political environment

The next round of the research projects will be announced October 28. Simkins said these results will be a big benefit to the area. "By generating local economic indicators, our research team will enable local businesses anticipate shifts in the local economy and use this information to improve business decisions and planning."


For more information, visit the Regional Economic Indicators Forum webpageThis link points to an external webpage and will open in a new browser window or tab..

Event Contact: Small Business Development Center | 715-394-8351 | This link will open your email client for sending an email.sbdc@uwsuper.edu

News Contact: Tom Hansen | 715-394-8260 | thansen7{atuws}
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