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The Memo: What to know in business this week for June 19

The Number: 80

That's the percentage of folks in Northeastern Minnesota who both live and work here, meaning one in every five comes from elsewhere, like the faraway lands of Wisconsin and Pine County. The esteemed labor analyst Erik White at DEED writes that the Minnesota's northeastern most seven counties are a "net importer of labor, having slightly more jobs than available workers," which builds on that whole shrinking labor force narrative I've been telling you about.

The Word: "U.S. metal output isn't declining because of overseas competition, but because as America gets richer, it's buying different stuff," wrote Bloomberg opinionator David Fickling in a recent analysis of steel markets. Steel demand falls as economies move from industrial to consumer demand, he says. However, that runs counter to the prevailing narrative that Chinese steel dumping ran prices — and the taconite industry — into the ground, and actions by both the Obama and Trump administrations targeting Chinese steel has turned that around. No doubt the truth, as usual, is somewhere in between.

The Lead: Bridgey McBridgeface, anyone? The new Highway 53 bridge crossing the Rouchleau Pit is crowdsourcing its name as the Iron Range Tourism Bureau seeks to build excitement around the huge project. After vetting submissions, the top five will be voted on by the public, and the winner gets a $100 gift certificate. It is asked that the nomination process not be used to vent negative sentiments about the bridge, though by all means send your best passive-aggressive puns my way. Go to to submit a name.

The Meeting: Golfing for good

The Arrowhead Manufacturers & Fabricators Association is holding its annual golf fundraiser on Wednesday at Black Bear, and it's not too late to sign up for a spot and help support the AMFA Educational Trust's youth manufacturing programs. For $95 per golfer, join a four-person scramble team at a shotgun start at noon during the 19th annual event. Or if you're like me and prefer golfing with Frisbee discs, you can just attend the 6 p.m. dinner for $25, or donate to the auction. Go to to learn more and register, email or call (877) 330-2632.

The Memo is a weekly roundup of things to know, ya know? Send business news of all kinds to and give frolfing business reporter Brooks Johnson a call every now and then at 218-723-5329.

Brooks Johnson

Brooks is an investigative reporter and business columnist at the Duluth News Tribune.

(218) 723-5329