St. Cloud State Economist and Dean School of Public Affairs King Banaian joined me on WJON today.  He says gas prices are on the rise and expects to see $3 dollars a gallon gas at some point this summer.  Banaian says the reason for the increase is largely due to demand.  He says more and more people are expected to go on road trips this spring and summer and that increased road traffic will lead to increased prices at the pump.

 

King Banaian says the stimulus money has led to an increase in sales in many sectors but none more than the automobile industry.  Banaian says furniture sales are also way up.  Bars and Restaurants are still not permitted to operate at full capacity in Minnesota and Banaian says that is still hampering their ability to come out of the struggles that affected them greatly in 2020.  He says the hospitality industry were forced to layoff many employees and many bars and restaurants are short staffed because many people who may have worked in that industry are still collecting government money which may make it easier for people to choose not to work.  Banaian says many who were laid off found other industries to work in.  Banaian weighed in on the minimum wage increasing to $15 an hour across the board.  He says the cost of living in different parts of the country vary so much that it doesn't make as much sense to see the increase in Minnesota as opposed to New York.

King Banaian weighed in on inflation.  He says the minimum wage isn't the main reason for inflation but demand for raw materials is.  He says there is a pent up demand for air travel and that is expected to lead to more people choosing to do that later in 2021 and into 2022.

King Banaian joins me once monthly on WJON for an economic update.

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The 25 Best Places to Live in Minnesota

Stacker compiled a list of the best places to live in Minnesota using data from Niche. Niche ranks places to live based on a variety of factors including cost of living, schools, health care, recreation, and weather. Cities, suburbs, and towns were included. Listings and images are from realtor.com.

On the list, there's a robust mix of offerings from great schools and nightlife to high walkability and public parks. Some areas have enjoyed rapid growth thanks to new businesses moving to the area, while others offer glimpses into area history with well-preserved architecture and museums. Keep reading to see if your hometown made the list.