Minnesota Slowdown

July 2008

Gas is $4 per gallon, food prices are painfully higher, air fares are soaring and U.S. companies have cut more than 400,000 jobs this year. In January, Minnesota's state economist had seen enough to say the state was in recession. Minnesota Slowdown, an ongoing special report from Minnesota Public Radio News, explores the origins and impact of the economic malaise.

Economic Lookouts

MPR News has enlisted more than a dozen Minnesotans to help track the economic slowdown over the next several months by sharing what they're observing in their community, at home and at work.
Visit map to explore stories

Economic lookouts audio map

Share your insights

How is the economy looking where you are?
Share your experience with MPR News

Join the Discussion

Discuss with other Minnesotans how they are dealing with the slowdown.
Discuss the slowdown on Gather.com

Where it began

It was only about 10 months ago that talk of a recession in this country started heating up. But the beginnings of the slowdown in Minnesota can be traced back several years, to a time when the state was adding thousands of jobs a month, and gas was less than $2.50 a gallon. Minnesota Public Radio's Annie Baxter is our guide on a journey to the start of the Minnesota Slowdown.

Are we seeing another round of 'stagflation?'

Rising prices for food and gas, combined with a weak economy, are prompting many people to draw comparisons to the "stagflation" of the 1970s and early 1980s. For some Minnesotans, the current recession is more threatening -- and the reason has to do with health insurance.

Meet the characters

From lumber mill owner Wayne Skoe who turns raw timber into building materials to Yvette Blanton whose family depends on state assistance after being pushed out of their home, the crash of the housing market touched Minnesotans. Follow the links below to hear the profiles.

Job Pain Index

The Job Pain Index provides a gauge of how hard it is to find a job.
Visit the Job Pain Index

The Economy Explorer

Explore Minnesota's economy and help MPR News spot trends and stories in 2000-2007 state employment data. Here's how:

  • Check out the top-level 2000-2007 data. Double click on any chart to go deeper.
  • To share your insights, click on the chart you'd like to comment on. Shift-click to select more than one, or shift, drag and click to select shorter time frames.
  • Share a story, comment or a theory that helps others better understand what's happening in your industry.
  • The Explorer will remember what you selected when you commented, and will display it to anyone who clicks on your comment.
  • MPR journalists will read your comments to better understand the data and come up with story ideas.
  • Questions? Contact us.


Feature Reporter: Annie Baxter
Project Editor: Bill Catlin
Economic Lookouts Producer: Andrew Haeg
Flash/Web Producer: Than Tibbetts
Audio Slideshows Producer: Ross Holtan
Interactive Producer: Preston Wright
Web Designer: Rebecca Cioni
Managing Editor: Mike Reszler

The Minnesota Employment Explorer is a joint project of the UC Berkeley Visualization Lab and Minnesota Public Radio. The data was provided by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, and built with the flare visualization toolkit.