October 1, 2018
Next Week: Amanda Brinkman (Small Business Revolution and Deluxe) To Keynote Retail Rally
Join us in just a little over a week and hear " Retail Lessons Learned While Revitalizing Main Streets Across America " by Amanda Brinkman!
 
Amanda will share tips she learned firsthand helping Main Street retailers in her hit series “Small Business Revolution – Main Street,” streaming on SmallBusinessRevolution.org and Hulu.
 
In addition, 10 organizations will be recognized as Minnesota's Retail Champions , and we'll hear from experts in customer engagement, asset protection and community dialogue.
 
Save 30% on tickets using promo code "retailchampion" this week!
 
Event Details:
Retail Rally: Where Innovative Retailers & Their Partners Gather , Learn and Celebrate
Doubletree Hotel - St. Louis Park
Tuesday, October 9, 2018
2:00-5:30 p.m.
 
RSVP:
Call (651) 227-6631 or register online now . $39/ticket less 30% when using promo code "retailchampion".

This event is open to members and invited guests.
Inclusive Hiring Can Ease Minnesota's Worker Shortage
From the Star Tribune, Editorial Board, September 21, 2018

You can say it’s a sign of good times. The 2.9 percent unemployment rate registered in Minnesota in August is the lowest since December 1999 and is getting close to the all-time low, 2.5 percent, recorded almost 20 years ago.

But that low rate and other state job measures released last week can also be called signs that a long-predicted demographic squeeze now has Minnesota’s economy in its grip. The growth in the state’s working-age and work-prepared population is not keeping pace with the economy’s demand for workers. One forecast has the state 239,000 workers short of demand by 2022.

While the unemployment rate fell last month, so did the number of jobs employers created, down 200 from July. That could be a blip after several months of strong job growth. But it could also be a sign that the state’s employers can’t find enough workers to hire. Job vacancy numbers released Friday also pointed to that possibility. With more than 142,000 job vacancies last month, the number of unemployed people per vacancy was a record low, while the job vacancy rate was a record high.

But as the state’s jobs agency stressed, the labor supply has not run dry yet — not while the unemployment rate among black and Hispanic Minnesotans is still twice as high as white unemployment, as it was in August.

“Generally, low and stable unemployment and underemployment mean that Minnesota’s economy is running very close to its full potential,” said a statement from the state Department of Employment and Economic Development. But in this case, “the differences seen when breaking the numbers out by racial groups shows that there is still room for improvement in Minnesota’s employment situation.”
Canada, U.S. Reach Deal To Save NAFTA As Trilateral Trade Pact
From Reuters, October 1, 2018

The United States and Canada forged a last-gasp deal on Sunday to salvage NAFTA as a trilateral pact with Mexico, rescuing a three-country, $1.2 trillion open-trade zone that had been about to collapse after nearly a quarter century.

In a joint statement, the two nations said the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) would "result in freer markets, fairer trade and robust economic growth in our region."

Negotiators worked frantically ahead of a midnight ET (0400 GMT) U.S. imposed deadline to settle differences, with both sides making concessions to seal the deal.

"It's a good day for Canada," Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters after a late-night cabinet meeting to discuss the agreement, which triggered a jump in global financial markets.

President Donald Trump, who blamed NAFTA for the exodus of manufacturing jobs to low-wage Mexico, had threatened to walk away from NAFTA unless major changes were made.

"It's a great win for the president and a validation for his strategy in the area of international trade," a senior administration official told reporters.

Trump has approved the deal with Canada, a source familiar with the decision said.

U.S. officials intend to sign the agreement with Canada and Mexico at the end of November, after which it would be submitted to the U.S. Congress for approval, a senior U.S. official said.

The deal will preserve a trade dispute settlement mechanism that Canada fought hard to maintain to protect its lumber industry and other sectors from U.S. anti-dumping tariffs, Canadian sources said.
Retailers Are Poised To Rack Up Their Best Sales In Years This Season But The Economy Is Showing Some Cracks
From the Retail Dive, Daphne Howland, September 28, 2018

After a few years of nail-biting holiday seasons that belied the post-Great Recession economic recovery, retailers this year appear to have the wind at their backs.

Prognostications are already coming in, and things look good. Holiday sales in the U.S. this year are poised to log a 4% year-over-year increase, according to a forecast from Coresight Research. Total retail sales (excluding automobiles and gasoline) in November and December might even top that, "given favorable economic conditions, such as an extremely low unemployment rate, wage growth and modest inflation," according to the report.

Deloitte's number crunchers put that even higher, estimating sales growth between November and January to reach 5% to 5.6% from last year to more than $1.1 trillion, up from the $1.05 trillion last year, when sales grew 4.7% (seasonally adjusted and excluding motor vehicles and gasoline as reported by the U.S. Department of Commerce).

Expectations for e-commerce outpace even those healthy numbers: Coresight thinks online retail sales will rise by almost 16% year over year, while Deloitte foresees an increase of 17% to 22%, up to as much as $128 billion to $134 billion.
Minnesota Retailers Association Joins Campaign Against Tariffs
From the Pioneer Press, Fred Melo, August 31, 2018

The Minnesota Retailers Association is among dozens of trade associations across the U.S. that have signed onto the newly-formed Americans for Free Trade, a diverse array of business groups that are opposed to current and contemplated trade tariffs directed by President Donald Trump.

On Wednesday a coalition of 86 trade groups announced the formation of Americans for Free Trade with a letter to members of Congress: “We are a growing coalition representing U.S. manufacturers, farmers and agribusinesses, retailers, technology companies, service suppliers, natural gas and oil companies, importers, exporters, and other supply chain stakeholders, who are united in their concern about the negative impacts that the new tariffs are and will continue to have on U.S. businesses, workers and consumers.”

The newly formed group is joining with another organization, Farmers for Free Trade, to back the “Tariffs Hurt the Heartland” campaign, an effort to call attention to the issue. Plans call for holding “town hall”-style events across the country.

“We’ve certainly been watching the tariff conversation closely,” said Bruce Nustad, president of the Minnesota Retailers Association. “Retailers do import products from various parts of the world…There’s a potentially strong impact on retailers and ultimately consumers.”

MnRA has about 250 member companies that operate approximately 1,200 retail locations within Minnesota. Nustad said that MnRA’s membership is about one-third “mom and pop” stores, one third small regional retailers with multiple locations and one-third large national companies.

Nustad said that MnRA works with the National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association on federal issues affecting retailers; both of those groups are part of the new Americans for Free Trade group as well.