Iron Range is latest region to face resource curse – by Lee Schafer (Minneapolis Startribune – April 10, 2016)

http://www.startribune.com/

Maybe we’ve been wrong all along about the abundant deposits of iron ore in northeastern Minnesota, enabling generations of Minnesotans to earn a good living by mining.

Maybe we’ve been wrong all along about the abundant deposits of iron ore in northeastern Minnesota, enabling generations of Minnesotans to earn a good living by mining. That great natural resource might not be a blessing after all. More like a curse.

It’s not a stretch to call it that, because all of that iron ore wealth just didn’t turn out to be the building block of a thriving and sustainable regional economy.

About 8 percent of workers in the area served by the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board still work in mining when the mines are fully operating, so it’s still the economic engine.

What’s striking about the jobs data in the excellent recent report by the Office of the Legislative Auditor is that there’s no other significant collection of private employers that pay really well besides those taconite mining operations.

One out of five jobs in the area was in health care or social assistance, a higher proportion than in the state as a whole. The Iron Range had relatively more people working in public administration, too, although there could be lots of reasons other than the featherbedding of taxpayer-funded payrolls.

Among private employers, a higher percentage there work in retail trade or hospitality and food service. In fact nearly a quarter of all jobs on the Iron Range are in these fields, jobs known for part-time schedules and relatively low pay.

For the rest of this article, click here: http://www.startribune.com/iron-range-is-latest-region-to-face-resource-curse/375065891/

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