News Release

Economic outlook mixed

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Rich MacDonald, professor of economics

Rich MacDonald, professor of economics.

Rich MacDonald, professor of economics King Banaian, professor of economics 

Mixed economic indicators are not halting economic expansion, nor dimming business optimism, according to authors of the most recent St. Cloud Area Quarterly Business Report (QBR).

"While year-over-year employment gains appear to have moderated, survey responses from area business leaders point to continuing expansion of the area's economy," said King Banaian and Rich MacDonald, economics professors and authors of the QBR.

  • Employment declines in professional and business services and hospitality and leisure services contributed to a modest 0.2 percent employment increase for Stearns and Benton counties, in the year ending April 2013
  • Of the 73 firms polled in the St. Cloud Area Business Outlook Survey, nearly 62 percent experienced improved business activity in the three months ending May 31
  • The survey reported 66 percent of firms expect increased activity in six months  
  • The St. Cloud Index of Leading Economic Indicators retreated from an historic high documented in the December QBR
  • The St. Cloud Probabailty of Recession Index, which predicts the likelihood of recession in the next six months, rose slightly

Central Minnesota's definitive, survey-based analysis of economic activity is published by Times Media, Greater St. Cloud Development Corp., and these St. Cloud State entities: Center for Economic Education, Department of Economics and the School of Public Affairs.

Read a feature story about QBR authors MacDonald and Banaian. MacDonald's doctorate is from Binghamton University, State University of New York. Banaian holds a doctorate from Claremont Graduate School, Claremont, Calif.      

The QBR has been produced four times a year since January 1999. Access past editions at

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