The headline was sensational. And damning. "All Minnesota metro areas' GDPs grew in the past two years except one: Duluth's," the big words declared atop a MinnPost report last week.
It was hardly news. The Duluth area's economic ups and downs have been well-documented by the News Tribune and other media over many, many years, including, especially, recent times.
And the doom and gloom suggested by the headline — that naysayers were quick to glom onto and to spread merrily across social media — wasn't entirely supported by the reporting in the lengthy article.
Most notably, "There are signs Duluth's GDP slide might be over," the article determined, even if its headline didn't reflect that reality. "Mines shuttered in recent years (driving down the value of the goods and services produced in the region, a determinant of the gross-domestic-product metric) are open again, and iron ore exports rose meteorically in the third quarter of this year, with ore, slag, and ash product exports up nearly 770 percent." The News Tribune was credited for recently reporting that.
Additionally, contributions to GDP in the Duluth area made by arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodations and food services "have increased modestly in the last three years," the article said.
"Duluth is seeing a real estate resurgence as well," it said.
"And as the metro area's economy changes to become more reliant on health care and education, its GDP could become more stable in the long run," the article predicted with far more optimism than was in the headline.
This isn't to suggest anyone in the Duluth area — naysayers or not — shouldn't sit up and take notice when a statewide publication points out an economic decline inconsistent with the rest of Minnesota. Clearly, never-ending diligence is required to ensure our economic and fiscal health.
But last week's headline in the Twin Cities certainly could have gone a lot less for shock and could have done as good a job as the article in reflecting the well-documented reality of booms and busts associated with our mining and natural-resources industries.