Matt’s Corner

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Welcome to Matt’s Corner, where our Senior Business Developer, Matt Shermoen, dives deep into some of the more complex questions of economic development. Business and economic development is a critical component that drives economic growth, creates new job opportunities and improves the quality of place and life. It increases access to opportunities created by economic growth for existing and future businesses and residents.


What does it cost to do business in Minnesota?

There are many reports and articles written and commissioned every year to break down the business cost and friendliness of each state. An excellent publication I enjoy reading through and using as a guide to better understand where Minnesota lands compared to other states is the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce’s annual Business Benchmarks report. Below is a snapshot from that report and I recommend clicking the link to read the full report.



What does it cost to live in Minnesota?

College students, young adults living at home, working adults, the C-suite and more have something in common. They all want to know what they’ll need to make or pay employees. The federal and state governments work from a basic needs standpoint. Over the past few years, the phrase “Living Wage” has gained momentum. I came across a Living Wage Calculator produced by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that goes beyond the standard basic needs to calculate the living wage so that government support is not needed. Please note that the MIT “Living Wage” calculation is a “small step up”, it does not budget for any prepared meals, unpaid vacations, savings or unexpected expenses.  Please use this link to explore the report more in-depth: MIT Living Wage Calculator to find details on the methodology of the report, look under the FAQ tab. I used the calculator to create a snapshot of what it takes to live in the Duluth/Superior MSA.


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Living Wage Calculator 2021-2022 Update
Required Living Wage Before Taxes

These results are especially interesting when evaluated with the knowledge that the minimum wage is $10.33/hour, inflation is increasing prices across the board, many individuals carry significant debt, and our region lacks sufficient housing, with the median apartment rent costing around $1,300 and the median home costing over $235,000 for the Duluth/Superior MSA. The costs of living in and/or running a business in Minnesota are high. In order for our region to survive, something’s got to give.


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