Thursday, April 26, 2007

Montana's Changing Economy & Census Data

Excellent talk this morning in the Gallery computer lab on the state of Montana's economy, census data, and where things are going over the next several years. Brad Eldridge (spelling?) gave a good overview on current trends (and an excellent job as fill-in presenter!) What was most interesting was the tight work force currently in the state, with unemployment hovering around 2%. He said that there has only been one state ever that has gone under 2%, and that was Maine back in the 80's. Interesting if Montana can beat that mark! He also pointed out that Montana could be in trouble with available work force unless we can somehow either increase the productivity of current workers or increase the number of available workers in the state by increasing retirement rates or increasing in-migration or even immigration. Interesting stuff.
Susan Ockert, Senior Research Economist for the state, also went throught the state's available data sources and walked us all through it. I'm continually impressed with the amount of data the state has on it's website. I spend a lot of time helping business students find demographics, etc. and I can tell their impressed with what their state offers.

p.s. Just outside the conference room there's a rowdy group kicking off the new Montana Librarians Calendar. Sounds like fun, I hope someone blogs it!!

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