Recent content from Lee Schafer
We are now just weeks from breaking the record for the longest uninterrupted stretch of economic growth. But will this feel like a record worth celebrating?
A project this sweeping was years in the making.
VIK, NORWAY – Each stop at the homes of my family’s immigrant forebears was more scenic than the last, until finally reaching an…
One of the first things we learned while getting trained in the bond-markets unit of First Bank St. Paul 35 years ago was that there’s…
The first tech entrepreneur to describe the Twin Cities as a “company town” for me was Jamf co-founder Chip Pearson of St. Paul, and since…
Lots of things are pitched to us as consumers with the promise that buying will make us happy. Products, vacations, social media apps, you name…
At some point, people won't put up with any more price increases.
VivaQuant is not anything like the dozen or so Minnesota businesses that have sought funding directly from small investors in the last few years.
What's changed to make buying a system the right choice now? One thing is the growing capability of companies like Colorado-based Fast Enterprises.
Berkshire Hathaway is an old-fashioned conglomerate of a type that went out of fashion a long time ago.
3M executives admitted to being too slow to do what investors saw as the right thing — letting a lot of 3M employees go.
A gas tax is really a textbook example of a form of tax that economists call regressive, meaning it takes a bigger bite out of the incomes of lower-income people than the well-off.
Timing is everything when it comes to building wealth. That's the message from a recent gathering at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
UR Turn, based in Minneapolis, got its start in 2016 with the first users in 2017.
UnitedHealth's experience with the ACA says a lot about how big insurance companies react to changes out of Washington.
Self-driving cars and other robotic technologies won't come for a while, a top McKinsey executive says. But until then, leaders in business and society need to figure out how millions of people's jobs will be affected.
Lord only knows how many different businesses Irwin Jacobs touched during his career, but it was his high-profile public role as a takeover artist that…
It’s actually possible to feel a little sorry for Tim Sloan, the departed chief executive of Wells Fargo & Co. Like the time Tim Sloan’s…
If the Fed is backing off rate hikes, big questions still loom, business columnist Lee Schafer writes. Among them: how will savers beat inflation? And what will happen when the next recession comes and there is little room to cut rates?
There were few surprises in the filings of ride-sharing firm Lyft Inc. as it prepared to go public. Anybody paying attention already knew the company…
His work in the Obama administration highlighted just how long the odds kids might face of lifting themselves into the upper classes are.
When looking to confirm news of a stock buyback plan, a first scroll through recent news releases of Medtronic PLC turned up nothing. There was…
Maybe it's time to dump the term full retirement age: A lot of hard-to-plan-for things can happen between the last day on the job and last day on earth.
Deep in a report by the trade group Housing First Minnesota on fees cities collect on new housing is a little chart that shows how…
Our governor and legislators might be a little busy now but by next session they should have read a new book called "Headquarters Economy" by business school Prof. Myles Shaver.
E-commerce giant's focus on delivery left a gap for those who knew customers.
It’s apparently not embarrassing any more to talk openly about tax avoidance. This term shows up in news articles, investment websites and in invitations to…
While it's certainly possible to have missed some, a good-faith effort to find one built without any public subsidy came up empty.
A HealthPartners senior leaders' meeting was a rare opportunity to see and hear how the managers think and talk to one another.
Perhaps it's time for at least a little concern that Minnesota, a state that gets more than half its general fund revenue from individual income taxes, has the kind of problem that has been brewing elsewhere.
The recent acquisition of Otis-Magie Insurance Agency in Duluth by a firm called Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC was too small to be statewide news.…
Venture capitalist Rob Weber of Great North Labs really wants more Minnesotans to overcome their hesitancy and join promising young technology companies to get in…
For students of business, the whole episode seems baffling.
It turns out that Minnesota is a contender on lots of rankings of the healthiest states.
What really matters now is cutting costs and becoming efficient enough to hang around as the industry consolidates.
He lamented there's no real constituency championing more IT investments, at least until something goes wrong. But that's hardly unique to government.
Shopko stores are being put out of business by competitors who are simply better at delivering what more consumers want.
For those of us who have marveled at how fast business processes seem to change and technology gets adopted, that pace is only going to accelerate.
What he believes in is the long-term business opportunity for the tools and infrastructure.
The law requires Federal Reserve officials to do what they can to foster maximum employment, yet it’s becoming obvious they really won’t know when or…
There's a temptation to think of rooftop signs as similar to the brands all over sports stadiums.
Now an entrepreneur and educator, Cuauhtemoc Cruz Herrera has already made a big difference. And way ahead of schedule.
It's a harsh world for retailers and maybe nothing would have worked, but Edward Lampert gave away the company's best chance.
Reading a few tweets from financial writer Helaine Olen was all it took for me to abandon a long-planned personal-finance column that was going to…
Pessimists probably don’t succeed as venture capitalists, and Ryan Broshar seemed about as sunny as a person can be early on a Monday morning in…
New tax on salaries was meant to level playing field, but it means less money going to the mission
Joshua Mills has been the Mercedes-Benz service director for Sears Imported Autos of Minnetonka for a couple of years, having previously worked as a master…
Research into the electric scooter business quickly turned up a piece by technology columnist Troy Dreier, writing for the Jersey Journal newspaper in New Jersey.…
What we have here might simply be a case of a big company going carbon-free to meet the rising expectations of its customers.
One "vulnerability" the Fed identified that got attention was excessive debt by businesses and consumers.
Health care systems have invested billions of dollars in their electronic record systems.
The way the Amazon.com HQ2 fiasco turned out raised questions that leaders of lots of cities and states have to be thinking about.
"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root." It's a quote so memorable that it…
FIRE, or "financial independence, retire early," is about willingly trading away material things for the flexibility to live without needing a paid job.
Amid the flood of media coverage of the competition for the second headquarters project of Amazon.com were a couple of columns that saw real potential in the project for Minnesota, and they were written by me. What a sap.
A Twin Cities startup that provides health services through home visits is in its second insurance enrollment period.
It's not just a management headache for big multinationals.
CHS turned out to be in a whole extra business beyond making a profit on its members' crops.
Here's a possible lesson: If we want to be free of our smartphones, it seems, at least for a while it's going to be up to us.
Minnesota now tops the list of states in what's called healthy life expectancy, meaning not just still alive but generally healthy and free of disabling conditions.
At least once a week the economist Art Rolnick gives a talk on the big economic returns from publicly funding early childhood education, or he…
When I Work is one of the state's highest-profile and high-potential software companies.
Maybe one problem with the first Manova Summit was just unfamiliarity.
"Manufacturing Wealth " is not an easy read. But for those who want to put some work into it, they will learn a great way to think about their finances.
Some of the support from Minneapolis and Hennepin County came in an unusual way.
The Trump administration insists wages are increasing. Many economists seem pretty sure that if so, the growth rate rounds to zero.
The single best explanation for why we had a terrifying financial crisis 10 years ago goes back to how easy it seems to be to…
The idea is that co-op members are well-equipped to look out for themselves, but Crow Wings is putting that to the test.
Focusing on workplace safety can pay off by lowering costs.
Housing costs more than it used to for most of us, and our incomes haven't kept up.
Part of the fun of going every year to the Minnesota State Fair is seeing what’s new — and this year that included Federal Reserve…
They don't suggest it's a lot easier to build a successful technology company in a college town more than an hour's drive from downtown Minneapolis and half a world away from Silicon Valley. They just doubt it's any harder.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren hopes to see a new legal charter adopted by big American businesses. The Massachusetts Democrat’s idea being to kill the notion that…
After talking to Gene Munster, it's clear he's remaining as professional as possible when sharing his thoughts on a potential transaction that was disclosed in the wackiest possible way.
If public officials don't take the time to really get it, odds seem high that the problem of not enough lower-cost housing gets worse in the Twin Cities.