Economic Research Expert Praises Dubuque's Balance

By Murphy, Erin | Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque), November 7, 2013 | Go to article overview

Economic Research Expert Praises Dubuque's Balance


Murphy, Erin, Telegraph - Herald (Dubuque)


Dubuque weathered its economic woes of the 1980s and the recent recession by diversifying its business base while holding strong to its manufacturing roots.

That's the take of a regional economic research expert who spoke Wednesday at the University of Dubuque.

William Testa, vice president and director of regional research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, spoke about the regional and national economy and why it has been slow to recover from the recession. He addressed nearly 200 students and area business leaders in an auditorium on the UD campus, then chatted with the business officials over lunch.

Testa said to weather the recession and thrive in the future, cities and regions must rely less upon manufacturing jobs, which are scarcer and less critical in the global economy.

He cautioned, however, that manufacturing should not be abandoned altogether. He said that he believes Dubuque struck the right balance as it recovered from double-digit unemployment in the 1980s.

"You successfully transitioned out of manufacturing that was lost and recruited companies and services," Testa said. "The manufacturing base that you had, they stayed - John Deere, for example. And I think you identified the growth sectors for cities, supported education. "

"So it sounds like you shifted into the right industries, supported them and didn't abandon manufacturers that were successful and still an important part of your community. …

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