The Free Press, Mankato, MN

News Ticker

Editorials

January 1, 2013

Our View: Region shows success, challenges going forward

As we close out 2012 and look ahead to 2013, the economic and social well-being of the Mankato regional community can be summarized as doing well with areas for improvement.

Many of the positives come down on the economic side of the equation as the Mankato regional economy has outperformed the national and state economy. Job growth in the Mankato/North Mankato Metropolitan Statistical Area has been ahead of other regions of the state and the state as a whole all year long.

Unemployment rates in the Mankato/North Mankato area are below state averages and far below national averages.

The consumer economy appears to be holding its own as well. Trends in Mankato retail sales appear to be up by at least the same level as national averages. Large ticket items like auto sales also show modest growth from last year. Tax collections from Mankato’s lodging tax and from its food and beverage tax are solidly ahead of last year.

Existing home sales also were ahead of last year in six of the last 11 months and down modestly in the other months. Housing starts were also up six of 11 months and very close to last year in three other months.

Commercial building has been somewhat surprising. Several new strip malls have been constructed with new retail stores locating in the market. Several new restaurants have set up shop in Mankato.

In the agricultural economy, farm prices remain solidly above last year and if agriculture land sales are any indication, there appears to be a bright future for years ahead in agriculture.

On the downside, the rate of poverty seems to be growing at an alarming rate. While figures for 2012 are not yet available, the poverty rate in Blue Earth County went from 16.7 percent in 2010 to 18.3 percent in 2011. That is above the national average of 15.9 percent and far above the Minnesota rate of 11.8 percent.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Editorials
  • Spear smile.jpg Spear column: Hoffner case tested first and right rules

    The biggest news stories carry the biggest risk

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • SCC leads the way on work ed The importance of higher education has never been more pronounced than with the changes occurring in our economy, especially in manufacturing. Bloomberg News noted that manufacturing accounts for 80 percent of our exports and for every one high-tech

    April 20, 2014

  • Our View: Y helps kids with skatepark Thumbs up to the YMCA and supporters working quickly to open an interim roller sport park. When fire destroyed Chesley Roller Sports Park in February, the Y made the commitment to rebuild it this summer and fall. But the Y also moved to give skateboa

    April 19, 2014

  • Our View: Make course evaluations public There's been a considerable and legitimate debate over the years about whether students at a public university should have access to teacher and course evaluations. Whenever there is a legitimate debate, it's hard to be in favor of less information a

    April 18, 2014

  • Our View: Drawing the line after Ukraine Why it matters: Tensions are ramping up once more as Russia tries to dictate to Ukraine.

    April 17, 2014

  • Our View: Costs key in health care access While more uninsured got coverage, costs must be controlled to sustain programs

    April 16, 2014

  • Our View: Saving lives trumps booking drug users Changes to the drug laws would save lives of those who overdose

    April 15, 2014

  • Pay attention! Distraction a problem A few years ago safety experts focused heavily on the dangers of people talking on cellphones while driving. Some states passed laws prohibiting the use of hand-held phones in cars as a result. Today much attention is on motorists typing on tiny hand

    April 14, 2014

  • DEBATE MEDICAL MARIJUANA When Minnesota lawmakers return from their spring break, one of the issues they may face is medical marijuana. This has been kicked around too many times. We feel it deserves to be pushed from committee and debated on the floor. The issue has been tr

    April 13, 2014

  • Our View: Cities saved on garbage collection Mankato and North Mankato saved their taxpayers money by bidding on garbage service

    April 12, 2014