If you are searching for general economic data on Northfield or county level data for Dakota and Rice counties, start with this guide to geographic distribution of economic data from the Census and AFF.
The Department of Employment and Economic Development and the U.S. Census are two of the main resources for business and industry data.
If you want to look at industries with bases in Northfield or the surrounding counties, try using Mergent Online or Mergent Intellect.
Mergent Online has a complicated interface. For guidance, refer to this Mergent Online Tutorial from Boston University.
The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis provides local area data for personal income and employment. To navigate to specific counties (Dakota and Rice) first select the table you would like to work with (i.e. Farm Income and Expenses). Indicate "County" on the Major Area page, select for "Minnesota" under state, then select the specific counties. This interactive data tool also allows you to manipulate the unit of measure as well as which statistics you would like to include in the table.
The main resource for Minnesota unemployment data is the Department of Employment and Economic Development. Access county specific data for either Rice or Dakota counties.
Find recent and historical data down to the county level with the United States Department of Agriculture Census of Agriculture. The online census data spans from 1840 - present. To navigate to county level data for Rice or Dakota counties, first choose a census year. Select Minnesota from the list of available states. Scroll down to "county tables". Note that older historical census years will classify Minnesota as a territory, and will not contain county level data.
In the historical census documents, metrics are listed down the left hand column once every two pages. Counties are listed alphabetically.
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