UWRF Center for Economic Research Launches Economic Dashboard

Feb. 7, 2011—The Center for Economic Research (CER) at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, in partnership with the St. Croix Economic Development Corporation (EDC) has released its first report of critical county data.

Highlighting Pierce, Polk and St. Croix counties, the data is revealed in a report called the St. Croix Valley Economic Dashboard. The data is presented in easily understandable graph and table form, and includes such items as median home prices, unemployment rates and new vehicle registration.

Logan Kelly, assistant professor of economics at UWRF and director of the CER, initiated the project to make county-area data more easily accessible. Kelly notes that the data contained in the dashboard provides key economic indicators for businesses and individuals alike.

“Business owners can view items such as total employment. An increase in employment means more people have jobs, and can therefore spend more. People are starting to have a brighter picture of the future,” says Kelly. “People can also look at housing marketing data and use it to answer critical questions like, ‘Do I want to sell my house? Do I want to buy a house?’”

The dashboard is available for viewing at CER’s Web page, http://www.uwrf.edu/cer. Kelly also runs a related blog, http://uwrf-cer.blogspot.comlink.

"The CER fills an important role for UWRF and CBE as it supports the region's economy and businesses. The St. Croix Valley Economic Dashboard is a good example of how Dr. Kelly will be able to extend his expertise to the region," says Glenn Potts, dean of the College of Business and Economics.

Kelly plans to release new sets of data on the second Friday of each month. The first dashboard report came out on Jan. 17. The next set of data is set for release on Feb. 11.

“One of the charges of the CER is business outreach. We are providing a service which most businesses have neither the time nor the resources to do,” says Kelly. “It’s also a significant selling tool for attracting business development to this area.”

The dashboard also plays a key role in Kelly’s classes. He uses the data as examples for his students. He also has a student research assistant involved in the project, and hopes to involve a larger group of students in his work in the future.

For more information, contact Kelly at logan.kelly@uwrf.edumail or 715-425-4993.

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