Across the West Non-Labor Income is Large and Growing
According to findings of a Headwaters Economics study released in March, non-labor income made up 41 percent of total personal income among western counties in 2011, and represents 60 percent of net personal income growth in the last decade for the region. Non-labor income is comprised of three main types—investments, age related, and hardship payments. It is affected by the stock market, retiring Baby Boomers, and changes to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Non-labor income in Gallatin County was 35 percent of total personal income, while it was 47 percent in Park County for 2011.
Montana ranks 5th in nation according to latest Well-Being Index
Moving up from 6th place in 2012, Montana continued to occupy the top quintile as reported in the 2013 State of American Well-Being report released in February. Global well-being improvement leader Healthways and management consulting firm Gallup conducted analysis based on data from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index®, a measure of real-time changes in well-being throughout the world. Based on more than 178,000 interviews nationwide, the index examined Americans’ perceptions on topics including physical and emotional health, healthy behaviors, work environment, social and community factors, financial security, and access to necessities such as food, shelter and healthcare to create a composite well-being rank for each state. A full report included detailed state reports will be available in April.
Bozeman's overall cost of living was just about average in 2013, housing costs were more than 10 percent above the national average for the year
Bozeman’s composite cost of living index score came in at just 0.9 percent above the national average for 2013, according to the annual Cost of Living Index Report. The annual score represents an unweighted average of data submitted for the first three quarters of 2013. The composite index is based on six component categories – housing, utilities, grocery items, transportation, health care and miscellaneous goods & services. The 2013 annual average housing index score for Bozeman was 110.6, meaning that area housing was 10.6 percent above the national average for the year. This is the highest annual score as relative to national averages each year since 2008.
Shopping Local gets national attention with HeadRoom's new downtown retail location
When HeadRoom announced a new retail location with one of the world’s largest selection of headphones and related gear at 12 E. Main Street in historic downtown Bozeman, they received attention from CNET, TheStreet.com, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle and InnerFidelity.com. Founded in 1992 and a Prospera member since 2005, HeadRoom has a mission to bring excellent headphone audio to the masses.
MSU adds new master's degree and minor in laser and imaging optics
Beginning in the fall of 2014 Montana State University will begin offering a master's degree and a minor in optics and photonics. “We see this as continuing a three-decade long process of pushing MSU and Bozeman into the forefront of some of the most exciting innovation and research in the field of laser and imaging optics. By offering graduate-level studies in optical sciences, we will be adding significantly to the intellectual capital coming out of MSU that has been a big part of growing an optics economy in Bozeman.” said Joseph Shaw, professor in electrical and computer engineering and director of the Optical Technology Center. The Gallatin Valley has seen 32 optics-related companies form over the years, with 15 started by MSU graduates. Bozeman is currently home to twice the optics companies per capita as Tucson, Arizona, which is generally seen as a major optical industry center.
USDA Announces additional loan funds for rural small business development
Prospera Business Network's Intermediary Relending Program (IRP) loan fund was one of seven recipients in the nation to be awarded funding to create or expand revolving loan programs for rural small businesses. The announcement was made on February 5th at Quality Foods Distributing, a natural and organic food distributor and Prospera IRP loan recipient. Through the Intermediary Relending Program, eligible entities borrow the funds from the USDA and then lend them out to rural small businesses that would not normally be able to access capital at affordable rates. Once these funds are repaid, they become available again for another borrower. The original USDA loan is paid off through the interest payments made by the ultimate borrowers.