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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:
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:
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 webpage.
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