The Fed wants to hear YOUR thoughts on the recession!

March 30, 2010

Ron Wirtz, editor of the fedgazette, contacted me and others in the community for insights regarding the recession’s effect (actual and psychological) on employment. Through this CO2 Partners blog, he is now interested in getting your insights and experience.

Below you’ll find Ron Wirtz’s request in full. Do your stories and impressions match the Fed’s findings? It’s an honest and important request that I hope you will accept by posting your own thoughts on this blog.

The fedgazette will follow blog postings, some of which might be used in the final research articles expected to be published in the July fedgazette . Your comments are more important than your identity, but some source identification (name, firm, location, size) is necessary to put your comments in proper economic and geographic context. So please offer whatever level of identification you are comfortable with, even if it be generic (owner, wholesale food distributor in western Minnesota). If you don’t want to respond publicly, you can, of course, contact Ron directly at

Ron Wirtz writes:  I am doing research for the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis on the recession’s effect on Ninth District states. We’ve gathered a lot of employment data, and sliced and diced it in a multitude of ways (and foreshadowed in part below). But as everyone knows, data can only tell part of the story, and that’s why I’m writing. I’m trying to get insights from thoughtful people throughout the Ninth District (a territory that runs from western Wisconsin to Montana) to help me tell the recession-and-employment story in their region and state. I’m interested in anecdotes, but I’m more interested in understanding the differing economic moods, their sources, and the general outlook across the Ninth District.

Below are a handful of questions I’d love your insights on regarding the business climate in your community or region. I’ll grant that they are not simple or easy questions. But that’s kind of the point. I’m specifically contacting folks (like yourself) that have a broader economic perspective that can help me frame recession and employment issues for fedgazette readers.

For your insights to be included in my research, I need your feedback by Wednesday, April 7. If you would prefer to chat by phone, I can be reached at the number below. I look forward to hearing from you on these important topics.



Ronald A. Wirtz Editor 
fedgazette Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis 

RECESSION QUESTIONS (answer any that pique your interest)

  • First, what’s the “economic mood” like in your community or region (and if you’re willing to opine, more broadly statewide)? Upbeat, or beat up?
  • From an employment perspective, how has this recession been similar to past experiences you’re familiar with or experienced personally. How, or what, has been different this time around?
  • Our data show that Upper Midwest states have fared better  during this recession in terms of overall unemployment, and the growth of unemployment—compared with many states and the nation as a whole.
    • Are these ‘moral victories’ recognized, or appreciated, or just something appreciated by economists and other eggheads? Can you hang your hat on the slogan, “We’re not as bad off as most!”?
    • What are the 2-3 elements you believe to be hurting your community or region’s economy the most?
    • Economists are fond of saying (maybe coldly) that recessions help economies become more efficient, and ultimately more prosperous. Do you feel like your state/regional economy will come out of this (insert your timeline here) better or worse? Why?
    • Our research shows that the pattern of job loss—by education levels, age, etc.—in district states is pretty typical of past recessions, though steeper in this recession. Is there any reason, or good evidence, for a half-full perspective? Unemployment remains high by most any measure. But are we seeing any ‘green shoots’ or other signs of employment rebirth, or growth in new economic sectors?
    • What is being done well – intentionally, or serendipitously; in government or in the private sector – to position the region/state for growth, and specifically to capitalize on new economic opportunities? On the flip side, what obstacles are present, and what issues have been left unattended and stand in the way of growth?

Many thanks.


John LeTourneau

CO2 Partners LLC

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