New government numbers show Minnesota remains among the most affluent states in the nation, with one of the lowest rates of poverty. Wisconsin and Iowa, two other political swing states, also showed fewer signs of poverty than many other states in the country.
Starting later this week, Northwest Airlines will make some major changes to some of its ticket fees. The airline says it is following trends established by low-cost carriers like JetBlue and Southwest, which now compete for 70 percent of Northwest's customer base. But the changes are almost certain rub some consumers and travel agents the wrong way.
Imagine dropping by the store for a loaf of bread, a quart of milk, and a strep throat culture. In a few major cities, small health clinics are appearing inside grocery stores and discount retailers like Target. The clinics are meant to be a hassle-free alternative to crowded waiting rooms at the family doctor.
The nation's biggest airline explained to its bankruptcy judge on Friday why it's stopped making contributions to its pension plans, and why it abandon the pensions altogether. Other airlines, including Eagan-based Northwest, are watching the proceedings closely. What happens to United's pensions could send a shock across the industry.
Shareholders of St. Paul Travelers will meet at the company's St. Paul headquarters for their annual meeting this week. Many of those attending will be local employees -- more curious about the future of their jobs than the value of their stock. Their CEO said last week St. Paul Travelers will cut its ranks by 10 percent to achieve the cost savings promised by the merger that created the company.
There may be an economic recovery going on, but many Minnesotans are still waiting to feel it. According to a new Minnesota Public Radio-St. Paul Pioneer Press poll, most people say their household financial situation has not changed over the past year. One thing they <i>are</i> feeling is higher gas prices -- though most people have not been concerned enough to change their driving habits.
Homeowners around Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport say some assistance paying for air conditioning falls far short of what they expected to help soundproof their homes. The Metropolitan Airports Commission moved that proposal forward at its meeting on Monday, despite accusations of betrayal from around 200 residents and politicians who crowded their chamber.
When you look at the countries where Minnesota sends its exports, something is noticeably out-of-whack. Canada is our No. 1 trading partner -- that's no surprise. But second on the list -- far above major economies like Japan, Mexico, and Germany -- is a country most people wouldn't expect. It's Ireland, a pastoral island with a population a little bigger than Oklahoma.
Last month, Tong Her stepped off a plane in the Twin Cities after an 8,000-mile trip from Thailand. He arrived with his wife and nine other relatives -- the first in a wave of Hmong refugees coming to Minnesota over the next few months. Her told a reporter his first priority is finding work, something almost always easier said than done.
Starting next week, millions of Minnesotans are entitled to get money back from Microsoft. On Thursday a judge in Hennepin County District Court approved a settlement between the software giant and lawyers representing consumers and businesses. The sides reached agreement in April, halting the first-ever class-action suit against Microsoft to go to trial. Both sides claim success, but the biggest winner could be the state's public schools.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty, along with 20 Minnesota business leaders, is spending the week in Poland and the Czech Republic for the first overseas trade mission of his administration. The reason for the destination is not obvious at first glance -- the two countries are far down on the list of Minnesota's trading partners. But officials say the trip gets Minnesota in on the ground floor of the next big thing.
Mexican President Vicente Fox has returned home after a three-day visit to the upper Midwest. Fox and his 40-person entourage spent the final afternoon of their U.S. visit in the Twin Cities. State officials joined Fox in saying they want to fast-forward the Minnesota-Mexico relationship, focusing on immigration and trade. The Mexican president did announce one major step forward: A Mexican consulate here within the next three years.
One important aspect of trade is not reflected in Minnesota's export numbers to Mexico: "foreign direct investment" by Minnesota companies.
While companies and state officials discuss growing trade in positive terms, others see the free flow of goods and dollars between the U.S. and Mexico as a disaster for both sides.
When Mexican President Vicente Fox arrives in the Twin Cities, Minnesota-Mexico trade is just one topic on a full agenda. But four years ago when Gov. Jesse Ventura led a trade mission to Mexico, the two sides voiced lofty goals. Among them, Mexico would become our second-largest trading partner, and Mexico would set up a trade office here. Neither has happened, and our economic relationship is still not as strong as it might be.