Data That We Track, April 2018



How Our Target Area Fared


The latest population estimate prepared by the US Census revealed that Michigan grew by 3% between 2016 and 2017. Among the 78 counties that we watch, 29% saw a population decline, the majority of that number were in the UP, the border counties of Wisconsin and Northeast Lower Michigan. On the other hand, 49 counties had a population increase, mostly in West Michigan and South Central Lower Michigan. While examining the jobless front for the month of April, only 6 counties experienced an increase in their jobless rate, and one remained the same. In other words, 71 counties saw their jobless rates decline. Wisconsin’s statewide jobless rate fell to below 3% at 2.9%.


View the April Data Sheet (Adobe PDF File).


How Northern Initiatives Fared


This year we have had two record months for loan closings in the first five months, May and February and tied our all-time record for a month this April. Our average loan size so far this year is $47,000 about $10,000 less than a normal year. The year looks promising!


Monthly Musings from President, Dennis West


In early May we had our annual Board of Directors retreat followed by a staff retreat. We held these events in Traverse City, where food and food-related businesses are in abundance. We enjoyed the food of Simon Joseph at Harvest, and former customers Georgina’s, and Rare Bird Brewery. We also toured Cherry Capital Foods and saw the Food Hub that has been created.


Food-related businesses are a key part of our loan portfolio. In fact, we just added a $500,000 loan to our capital base through the Michigan Good Food Fund. This is added to the $1M that we have already put to use. Food is very much a part of helping to define the uniqueness of our communities by highlighting that which is fresh, natural, local and authentic. There is an impressive breadth to the food-related businesses in Traverse City.


Featuring Northern Initiatives staff showcasing their final masterpieces created during a social event at Rare Bird Brewery.




Loans Closed in April


Creative Cabinetry


Cheryl Stevens Studio


M-10 Transport

JLA Enterprises
Superior Salon




Two Loons


The Bird and Bear Grill


Support Northern Initiatives


Northern Initiatives wishes to thank our funders, investors and donors for their continued support. Northern Initiatives provides money and know how to start-ups and growing businesses. We invite you to join us to help more businesses start and grow. Please consider giving a donation today.



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