1. South Dakota is giving it a go on oil development, recently auctioning off 50 oil and gas leases, though activity is expected to be small potatoes compared to North Dakota.
2. The number of visitors to Glacier National Park in Montana grew more than 5 percent compared with a year ago.
3. There’s anecdotal evidence that commercial construction continued to grow in the second quarter.
4. The Ninth District
manufacturing sector continued to grow -- moderately (though not manufacturing employment in Minnesota).
5. July output at District iron ore mines was slightly above its year-earlier levels after several slower months, though mining in general is flat.
6. Some Minnesota and Wisconsin frac sand mines have idled recently.
7. North Dakota wheat acreage fell nearly 1 million acres, or 12 percent, from last year. (The Strib's Mike Hughlett wrote about this transition
in Minnesota last month.)
8. Prices increased for cattle, hogs, milk, eggs, chicken, hay and potatoes were up over a year ago. Prices for corn, wheat, dry beans and turkeys fell. Soybean prices were flat.
9. Two facilities that will serve Canadian oil sands development are under construction in Montana.
10. Growth in residential real estate and construction has slowed somewhat, but is still strong. July home sales were up 13 percent from the same period a year ago in Minnesota; the inventory of homes for sale increased by 1 percent, and median sale prices rose 13 percent. In the Sioux Falls area, July home sales were up 25 percent and inventory was down 11 percent, but the median sale price decreased 3 percent relative to a year earlier.
11. Lumber prices were up about 10 percent compared with a year ago.
12. Representatives of health systems with operations in the District noted that medical cost inflation subsided recently, and they expect it to remain relatively subdued going forward.