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GFDA Top 10 For The Week

Here is the GFDA Top 10 for this week:
1) Great Falls metro area unemployment rate dropped from 6.2% in October to 5.6% in November. Last November we had a 6.2% rate. We're in between the Billings metro area, 4.7% in November, and the Missoula metro area, 6.9%.
2) Tourism Business Improvement District awarded $5,000 toward the Great Falls brand development effort. We have $18,000 left to raise to go ahead with the creative and action plan phases of work.
3) Alberta Utilities Commission extended permits for the Montana Alberta Tie Line to May 31, 2012.
4) Closed loans to Outpost Deli in Choteau with $50,000 from our High Plains Financial USDA loan fund and $50,000 from the Sweetgrass Development CDBG loan fund.
5) Began work with 3 Great Falls small businesses needing financing.
6) Great Falls City Commission approved start of process to update City's 2005 Growth Policy. It's important for business and real estate leaders to get involved in this process.
7) Great Falls City Commission is looking for two volunteers to serve on the Airport Authority board. Contact the City Manager's office to apply.
8) Good news from the north and east on energy development. Imperial Oil gave the go ahead to a $8.6 billion expansion of its Kearl oil sands complex in Alberta. To the east, Oil & Gas Journal said the industry plans to invest over $3 billion in 2011-2013 on gas gathering and processing infrastructure to tap natural gas in the Bakken.
9) Montana kicked off the CollegeNow effort this week to boost enrollment in our two year colleges. 25 percent of Montana college students are in two year schools, a far cry from the national average of 46%.
10) How important is the competitiveness of the Great Falls trade area? According to ESRI, in the City alone, retail trade is comprised of 487 businesses that employ 4,774 (15%), accommodation and food service businesses count 224 and employ 3,143 (10%), arts, entertainment and recreation has 85 businesses that employ 717 (2%) and 239 health care businesses employ 5,924 (19%).



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