Slater Barr, president of the Sioux Falls Development Foundation and Theresa Stehly had some great quotes in this story about Sioux Falls growth;
“Focusing only on the growth number is the wrong measurement,” said Slater Barr, president of the Sioux Falls Development Foundation. “It’s not, ‘How many people do you attract?’ It’s ‘What are the skills of those people?’ ”
To that end, Barr said the development foundation, the city and several other local organizations are raising about $200,000 to study trends in the city’s growth.
“If your per-capita income isn’t keeping pace, then you’re adding people, but you’re adding people at lower wages,” Barr said. “We’re putting together … an analysis and strategic plan for the community.”
Slater is right, especially with the per-capita earnings. The results of that study will be interesting. I have lived in Sioux Falls for 18 years, mostly in apartments in the central district. I can tell you it was rare to see a Hispanic or African refugee in those neighborhoods 10-15 year ago. Now, that is all that lives there. I believe most of our population growth has been due to construction laborers, packing plant workers, and Lutheran Social Services locating refugees here. Most of those kind of workers tend to have larger families. Don’t get me wrong, I think diversity is great for Sioux Falls. But I can also say a majority of these people are not ‘Lifers’. If they can find a better paying job in another state doing the same thing, they’ll be gone in a heartbeat. Like I have said before, if JM’s closes, you will see a mass exodus of these kind of workers. I would expect our population to drop 8,000 – 10,000 people practically overnight.
“We hear a lot about bringing quality people to our town. I think we’re all quality people,” Stehly said.
I agree with Theresa. I think a lot Sioux Falls residents who have been here most of their lives are hardworking, great people. We should be attracting those kind of people. But that of course has to do with what kind of jobs we want in Sioux Falls. Do we wantÂ low payingÂ construction and packing plant jobs, or do we want green energy manufacturing, research and technical jobs in Sioux Falls? The SFDF’s study will be very telling.
Of course Dave couldn’t resist putting on the rose-colored glasses;
Sioux Falls’ 2.3 percent growth between 2007 and 2008 ranks the city 34th among U.S. cities. No other city in the region has seen its population grow by as large a percentage as Sioux Falls since 2000.
“I would say they’re really right on. I think that’s a good number,” said Mayor Dave Munson, who has seen the city grow steadily during his two terms. “It really is attributable to the quality of life you have here.”
And the unskilled cheapÂ labor pool we have here.