Exploring the influences on our region's economy.

National Bank of Commerce, together with leading area educational institutions and business frontrunners, created and continues to sponsor the Regional Economic Indicators Forum (REIF); a comprehensive research initiative to drive growth, prosperity and collaboration across our region.

Next Forum: Tuesday, October 31, 2017 7-9 am
Topic: Economics of the Region’s Water Resources
DECC: Lake Superior Ballroom
Keynote Speaker: Stephen Polasky, Regents Professor and Fesler-Lampert Professor of Ecological/Environmental Economics, University of Minnesota

stephen polasky headshotStephen Polasky is a Regents Professor and the Fesler-Lampert Professor of Ecological/Environmental Economics at the University of Minnesota where he has a joint appointment in the Department of Applied Economics and the Department of Ecology, Evolution & Behavior. He is also a fellow of the University’s Institute on the Environment. His research interests focus on issues at the intersection of ecology and economics and include the impacts of land use and land management on the provision and value of ecosystem services and natural capital, biodiversity conservation, sustainability, environmental regulation, renewable energy, and common property resources.

He is a co-founder of the Natural Capital Project, a partnership between Minnesota, Stanford, The Nature Conservancy, and World Wildlife Fund. He served as Senior Staff Economist for environment and resources for the President’s Council of Economic Advisers 1998-1999. He currently serves on the Board of Directors and the Science Council for The Nature Conservancy, the Sustainability External Advisory Committee for Dow Chemical, and the Science Advisory Board of NOAA. He was elected into the National Academy of Sciences in 2010. He is a fellow of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He received a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan in 1986.

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The goals of the REIF are to:

  • Support business owners in their business decisions by gathering key local economic indicators and trend information
  • Develop specific economic indicators for this region that are not readily available to decision makers
  • Develop tools to assess our progress in economic growth, prepare baseline measures that will allow comparison with other regions and measure future progress of the region
  • Track the region’s participation in the “new economy” and development in the high-tech arena
  • Collect and monitor data related to county-level economic performance, business and consumer confidence and regional stock performance
  • Bring professionals together with business owners for discussion about the local economy and related critical issues in a collaborative, non-political environment
  • Create a business recruitment and retention tool by publishing the information

Map of R.E.I.F countiesThe REIF Region is a 15-county area that covers Northeast Minnesota and Northwest Wisconsin. The eight counties of Minnesota include the Arrowhead Region — Aitkin, Carlton, Cook, Itasca, Koochiching, Lake and St. Louis counties — along with Pine County. The seven counties of Wisconsin include Ashland, Bayfield, Burnett, Douglas, Iron, Sawyer and Washburn.

The REIF is governed by a steering and advisory committee comprised of representative(s) from:

  • National Bank of Commerce
  • College of St. Scholastica
  • Small Business Development Center of Minnesota
  • Small Business Development Center of Wisconsin
  • University of Minnesota, Duluth
  • University of Wisconsin, Superior
Resources such as APEX (Area Partnership for Economic Expansion), Business North and the Development Association of Superior-Douglas County are utilized as needed.

Meet the Regional Economics Faculty Research Staff.

Download or view the full presentation from March 28.
2016 2015 2014

Prior REIF Presentations and Reports:

2016 Annual Report 2015 Annual Report October 2014 Full Report
November 2016 Presentation October 2015 Presentation October 2014 Presentation 
March 2016 Presentation March 2015 Full Report March 2014 Full Report
  March 2015 Presentation  





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