Our view: Northland economy dark, but hoping for dawn
The already bleak economy just keeps getting darker and more desperate for the Northland -- minus one glimmer of hope. Today's paper details the toll. Iron ore shipments through the Duluth-Superior Harbor are down. Way down. Down a whopping 61 pe...
The already bleak economy just keeps getting darker and more desperate for the Northland -- minus one glimmer of hope.
Today's paper details the toll.
Iron ore shipments through the Duluth-Superior Harbor are down. Way down. Down a whopping
61 percent this season, reaching lows not experienced since the Great Depression. So low that, "Iron ore shipments for Duluth-Superior could test record lows this year with steel plants sitting idle and two dozen lakers in layup," as Duluth Seaway Port Authority Executive Director Adolph Ojard said yesterday in a statement.
In addition, joblessness in the three-county Duluth-Superior metropolitan area is up. Way up. Up into double digits for the first time in decades. So far up that 10.3 percent of workers in St. Louis, Douglas and Carlton counties were without jobs in June, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Mining towns such as Hibbing and Virginia saw unemployment hit 18.7 percent and
17 percent, respectively, last month while, in Duluth, unemployment was at 8 percent, nearly half a percentage point better than the statewide rate, an indication that the pain isn't locally isolated.
Finally, air travel at Duluth International Airport is down. Way down. Down more than 23 percent during the first half of 2009 when compared to a year earlier. So far down that the Duluth Airport Authority has had to trim spending to keep its budget out of the red.
So the glimmer of hope?
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said yesterday, during testimony he provides semi-
annually to the House Financial Services Committee, that the economy is showing "tentative signs of stabilization." Of course, he also said: "The pace of decline appears to have slowed significantly."
Meaning the economy still is on the decline.
And the hope for rapid recovery still is just a glimmer.
And we all need to keep hanging on, just a little longer, waiting and hoping that the stimulus starts stimulating.