ST. CLOUD (WJON News) - Ahead of the Minnesota Legislative session, the Chamber of Commerce is holding listening sessions across the state.

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Thursday, it was time for St. Cloud area businesses to discuss their concerns.

Minnesota Chamber of Commerce President Doug Loon said labor was on the top of mind for many. He says the business community will be watching the legislature for help with workforce training and livability issues like childcare and affordable housing.

Looking forward to 2023 and beyond, Loon says business leaders at the session were cautiously optimistic, but Minnesota is not emerging from the COVID pandemic as quickly as some neighboring states.

Minnesota, traditionally, goes into a recession late and comes out early. It's part of the value of having a really diverse (and) highly developed economy. What we're seeing in this case, though, is that it's uneven. Minnesota is slower coming out than other states of the country, we're actually lagging.

Loon says listening sessions across the state have resulted in three main themes: labor availability, interest rates, and the regulatory environment. He says the Chamber of Commerce will be working with legislators to make sure business regulations are still protecting the state resources, but efficient enough to help businesses capitalize on their investments quickly.

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