CIRAS Digest: Friday, Jan. 16, 2015

  • It’ll be lukewarm growth in 2015 throughout the Midwest, according to the Omaha World-Herald’s analysis of numbers from the Rural Mainstreet Index. (Up from 50 in December to 50.9 in January, which the newspaper defines as “stubbornly slow” growth.)
  • President Barack Obama apparently stands with those who believe we’re seeing a resurgence in American manufacturing (as opposed to those who argue the improvement is over-hyped), and he’s willing to use the nation’s propaganda machine to press the point. This Voice of America article foreshadows the Jan. 20 State of the Union Address, when Obama is expected to tout manufacturing gains and call for more American innovation “to help grow the middle class and help the United States compete globally.”
  • barillaIn close-to-home economic development news, Barilla is asking for $850,000 in state tax credits to help fund a $26 million expansion of its plant in Ames, according to The Des Moines Register.


  • Woodmen_of_the_World_LogoMeanwhile, Iowa apparently is courting Woodmen of the World Life Insurance Society, trying to get the company to leave Omaha after a dispute popped up over a property tax exemption the Woodmen requested there. The World-Herald says the company would bring 400 jobs to Iowa, if it moves.


  • And lastly, in the category of stuff that’s just kind of interesting to watch, a site called Sploid has posted an 11-minute, 1974 film called The Hello Machine. It’s mostly close-up shots showing the assembly of a then-groundbreaking mainframe computer that switched telephone calls for AT&T. Enjoy.

Thanks for reading.

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