WALKER - Jennifer Hawkins, Region 5 Development Commission, described for Cass County commissioners Tuesday data the region collected for the region's 2005 to 2010 economic development strategy.
It shows the Minnesota State Demographers Office anticipates Cass County population will grow by 66.85 percent from 2000 through 2030 to 45,300. Crow Wing's population can be expected to increase by 63.8 percent to 90,250 by 2030.
Wages paid in 2004 in the five county region were 67.3 percent of the state average, with Cass weekly wages averaging $460 and those paid to Crow Wing residents averaging $558.
Lower wages paid here than statewide may be partly due to the fact the report shows 34 percent of Region 5 wage earners work for businesses employing 0 to 19 people, while 30 percent of employees statewide work for businesses employing 250 or more people.
Industries in the region paying the highest wages to employees included heavy and civil engineering, $959 weekly wage; fabricated metal manufacturing, $698 weekly wage; wood product manufacturing, $631 weekly wage; and credit intermediation and related activities, $737 weekly wage.
According to 2000 U.S. Census reports, the median monthly gross rent Cass County residents paid was $371. Those in Crow Wing paid $458. The statewide median housing rent cost is $602.
That report shows the median cost for owner occupied homes ran $801 per month in Cass and $833 in Crow Wing, compared with the statewide median of $1,088.
The median sale price for homes in 2003 ran $132,500 in Cass (up 20.5 percent from 2001) and $129,200 in Crow Wing (up 19.6 percent from 2001. Statewide the median house sale price ran $169,900 or 21.7 percent higher than 2001.
About half the 146 businesses responding to a Region 5 survey conducted this spring pay health insurance to their employees. Of those who don't, 77 percent cited high cost as the reason they do not offer insurance to employees.
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