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Does Geography Determine Destiny? The Inequality of Opportunity Across the Heartland, Highlighted by the COVID Crisis

Ross DeVol and Angie Cooper
We are all invested in the idea of upward economic mobility, grounded in the notion that with hard work, we can build a better life for ourselves, our communities and our children. Unfortunately, the analysis in this report makes it clear that the distribution of opportunity has been and continues to be uneven.

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The urban prairie

A report in May by Heartland Forward, a think-tank of the Walton family (who own Walmart), laments that old, big companies do well in the region, but young firms rarely flourish. That is especially true in places that fail to encourage research and innovation.

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Arizonans set record for expanded jobless benefit claims as program's expiration looms

That new claims for Arizona jobless benefits have mostly leveled out in recent weeks might indicate Arizona's tourism sector hasn't been hit as hard as those of many other states, said David Shideler, chief research officer at Heartland Forward, which tracks economic activity in middle America.

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Young firms can accelerate economic growth post COVID-19

Entrepreneurs and young firms are the future major employers and they need support.

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Heartland Forward expands do mission with new investments in programming

Heartland Forward announced additional investments in its programming efforts, including the creation of a chief program officer role, underscoring the do in its mission as a think and do tank.

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HOW YOUR BRAND ADDRESSES EQUITY IMPACTS EVERYONE’S ECONOMIC RECOVERY

To remain resilient in today’s economic downturn, businesses must appeal to a higher calling.

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How 2020 Will Reshape Cities

The largest group of urban dwellers who said the coronavirus crisis has prompted them to consider leaving for a less crowded place was, surprisingly, millennials and Generation Z. New research from Heartland Forward shows that young people find new hope in the heartland.

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Unemployment Claims Flat as Economies Reopen Without Hiring

As states continue to lift restrictions on businesses, hiring is stagnant, even though spending is increasing somewhat. According to Chetty et al. (2020)1, until high-income households emerge from isolation and resume spending at pre-pandemic levels employment will not grow significantly. New COVID-19 hotspots throughout the country further complicate the situation as workers seek assistance while they quarantine and/or recover.

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Pandemic Unemployment Persists, even as States Continue to Loosen Restrictions

Businesses continue to face challenges to increasing production, sales and employment levels, and rising COVID-19 cases in many places across the country further complicate these processes (e.g., workers having to quarantine after exposure, limiting available workers).

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States Expand Economic Reopening but Unemployment Persists

Rising COVID-19 cases and safety requirements, supply chain issues, and childcare issues are some of the factors making it difficult for businesses to return to pre-pandemic production and employment levels. The worst-hit states continue to be those dependent on tourism and manufacturing.

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We support our fellow citizens who are using their voices to speak out for change

Message from Heartland Forward's President and CEO - Ross DeVol

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Despite Reopening Economies, Insured Unemployment Rates Rise in 13 States

As states continue to reopen their economies, insured unemployment rates fell in 37 states, indicating that fewer workers are receiving unemployment insurance benefits. However, 13 states saw their insured unemployment rate increase, and factors like limited capacity requirements at restaurants and retailers, consumer fears, and supply chain disruptions continued to weigh down employment growth.

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Report from Economic Renewal Institute Hails Oxford-UM Relationship

The “Young Firms and Regional Economic Growth: Knowledge-Intensive Entrepreneurs Critical” report was released by Heartland Forward, a “think-and-do tank” based in Bentonville, Arkansas.

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Georgia State team wins first place, $50K at UA’s Heartland Challenge virtual business plan competition

Ross DeVol - Heartland Forward President and CEO, announced the winning team from Georgia State University who walked away with $50,000 in prize money

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Return of Employment Slow, Millions Still Seek Unemployment Assistance

This week’s report revealed that roughly 1.9 million initial claims for unemployment insurance were filed the week ending May 23, 2020. An additional 1.2 million claims were filed for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

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Heartland Forward names LOU community one to emulate for strong economic growth

The “Young Firms and Regional Economic Growth: Knowledge-Intensive Entrepreneurs Critical” report was released by Heartland Forward, a “think-and-do tank” based in Bentonville, Arkansas.

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Nearly half of Colorado households have lost income because of pandemic

Although Colorado ranks 9th highest for the share of households reporting a loss of income, it ranks 46th when it comes to the share of employed workers, measured in February, who have filed for initial unemployment claims during the outbreak, according to a separate tally from Heartland Forward.

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The summer heat is coming as Nevadans struggle to pay cooling bills

Rising unemployment threatens to make matters worse. The issue is especially pressing in Nevada, one of a handful of states where more than one in five workers are receiving unemployment benefits, according to a recent report by Heartland Forward.

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The new geography of America, post-coronavirus

Changes could help the GOP, but the migration of millennials out of the deep-blue areas, as recently documented in a Heartland Forward report, could also offer hope

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Nevada economy’s overreliance on tourism is taking a toll

Economic think tank Heartland Forward’s analysis of unemployment claims filed between March 1 and April 25 found that only six states have a higher number than the Silver State.

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KOTKIN: One Nation, Under Lockdown, Divided By Pandemic

Manufacturing-oriented Michigan, as a recent Heartland Forward study showed, has suffered among the highest jump in unemployment claims in the nation.

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The Coming Age of Dispersion

Heartland Forward demonstrates, both immigrants and millennials—the key groups behind urban growth—are increasingly moving to interior cities and even small towns.

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The Coronavirus Is Changing the Future of Home, Work, and Life

Heartland Forward, where I am a senior fellow, demonstrates, both immigrants and millennials—the key groups behind urban growth—are increasingly moving to interior cities and even small towns.

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Texas reeling into recession from double blows of coronavirus and oil slump, Comptroller Glenn Hegar says

According to a report released Tuesday by Heartland Forward, many Texas producers made decisions on investment with the expectation prices this year would remain about $60 a barrel.

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Des Moines is 'flyover country' no more: Millennials choose Heartland

Ross DeVol
While Heartland states like Iowa have been labeled "flyover country," there is new evidence that young people — our economic engines of the future — are choosing to settle in cities likes Des Moines instead of fleeing for the coasts.

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Heartland Summit postponed to fall

The invitation-only event hosted by Heartland Forward focuses on economic growth in the central U.S.

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Put young talent at the Baton Rouge power table

Ross DeVol -- “It’s not small firms that create growth, its young firms that scale up,” he said. “It’s important to innovate and create new firms because eventually your anchor firms are not going to be as dominant.” Young entrepreneurs matter.

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Heartland Forward taps former Walmart director to lead annual summit

Heartland Forward has hired former Walmart Inc. director Angie Cooper as the executive director of its annual event, the Heartland Summit.

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Heartland Forward hires first chief research officer

Heartland Forward, led by former Walton Fellow and Milken Institute Chief Research Officer Ross DeVol, has hired David Shideler to lead the Bentonville “think and do” tank’s research portfolio.

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Talent that executes is key to future of Baton Rouge

Ross DeVol, President and CEO of Heartland Forward gives keynote at the CPEX Smart Growth Summit in Baton Rouge

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St. Louis Federal Reserve economist says U.S. economy is in ‘pretty good place’

An economic briefing hosted by the Little Rock branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis and Heartland Forward, a research institute established recently and based in Bentonville.

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Waltons backing research institute

A Walton family-backed research institute set to open today aims to foster economic growth in the central U.S., which has been slower to recover from the last recession than other parts of the country.

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Think Tank Focused on Heartland Launches in Bentonville

A think tank focused on research and policy with the goal of driving economic renewal in the American Heartland has launched in Bentonville. Heartland Forward is supported by members of the Walton family and will be overseen by President and CEO Ross DeVol.

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Ross DeVol Interviews with Paul Gatling, Talk Business & Politics

Ross DeVol, president and CEO of Heartland Forward, discusses the new ‘think and do tank’ with Northwest Arkansas Business Journal Editor Paul Gatling.

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