In a brewery update, two area businesses are collaborating and the results potentially could open a new commercial crop in the region.
The Farm on St.Mathias - working in collaboration with Brainerd Lakes Brewery - recently announced it received a three-year cycle grant from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture with a Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant. The Farm on St. Mathias reported the grant was written as a feasibility study for growing hops in central Minnesota.
The state Department of Ag lists hops as a specialty crop not generally grown for commercial use.
Sometimes the big numbers are just mind-numbing but are astonishing when considered in smaller increments. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 663,000 jobs were cut in March. That amounted to 30,000 jobs lost per workday last month, the Economic Policy Institute reported.
"The addition of 694,000 workers to the jobless rolls in March means that there are now 13.1 million unemployed workers in this country - 5.6 million more than at the start of the recession," the EPI reported in April. "That number, large as it is, actually understates labor market slack because it only counts jobless workers as being part of the labor force only if they are actively seeking work.
"... In December 2006, 63.4 percent of the working-age population was employed, its pre-recession peak. Since then, the employment-to-population ratio has declined 3.5 percentage points to its current level of 59.9 percent - the steepest decline during any recession since the Great Depression, exceeding the declines of 3.0 and 3.1 percentage points, respectively, for the periods from 1979 to 1983 and from 1953 to 1954."
The Washington, D.C.-based Economic Policy Institute, an independent nonprofit and nonpartisan research institute, studies the effect of economic trends and policies on working people both here and abroad. EPI reported the March numbers do not hint at a "light at the end of the tunnel" but show the labor market is "still deteriorating quickly." Although there are other market watchers indicating there may be room for optimism.
On April 7, the Economic Policy Institute reported there are now more than four people for every job opening and more than 1.4 million job openings have disappeared since the recession began.
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5852.s
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