The February jobless numbers came out last week and as would be expected all but two communities saw rising jobless rates. Michigan winter, enough said. The population estimates for 2016 from the US Census also came out. The gist of that information is that the UP and the northern east side of the state continue to lose population with a few county exceptions. The northern and western side of the state are gaining population, again with a few county exceptions. The Census release does not include the underlying demographic profiles for each county, which would lend insights as to why growth or loss is happening. The demographics would help us to look at the counties with population loss and counties with gains, and to be more discerning about these patterns. This is something that we will try to share at a later date.
We are off to a good start in the new year, and it certainly looks like sometime around mid-year we will hit a milestone of closing our 1,000th loan since we began making loans in 1994.
|NI President Dennis West has been participating with a diverse group of colleagues, which they have self-branded the Rural Development Innovations Group (RDIG). As the RDIG, they are working on a series of forums which can be attended if you are in DC, or watched through a livestream.
The forums are branded America’s Rural Opportunity and they convey important and positive stories about the many significant developments in rural places, and the collaborations that are making them possible.
On March 17th, Dennis was on a panel at the Aspen Institute in Washington DC to talk about the Entrepreneurship Eco-Systems of Rural America. The link is below.
The next event will be April 20th, and the panel will be discussing Natural Resource Economies. The fourth in the series will be in May around rural infrastructure, and then two more will happen in the fall to round out our series of six events.
You can follow this work and its discussions on Twitter @ruralinnovators.