Tag: Minneapolis

Comparing Minneapolis wages to wages in North Minneapolis

TSS Admin

As Aristotle explored in his Metaphysics: Book Delta, the parts of something, say the parts of a city, are divisions of the whole that can be differentiated from one another by quantification or by qualification. In the sense of quantifying, North Minneapolis can be differentiated from Minneapolis by observational data, for example, unemployment rates, education rates, and wages.

In the sense of qualifying, North Minneapolis can be differentiated by recognition of area. But it should be noted that the geography of North Minneapolis is still the geography of Minneapolis. It is just a recognition of a specified area, which is not Northeast Minneapolis, South Minneapolis, or Southwest Minneapolis.

Furthermore, North Minneapolis is broken down further by quantification and qualification into area codes: 55411 and 55412. Thus, the 55411 and 55412 zip codes are distinguishable by name and specific geography, this is obvious, and by observational data.

For example, previous articles in this blog have shown the 55411 zip code to be the zip code with the highest number of reported crimes in North Minneapolis; whereas, previous articles in this blog have shown the 55412 zip code to be the zip code with the highest number of foreclosures over the past decade.

Graph 1

Utilizing this systemic approach, the wages between Minneapolis and North Minneapolis, specifically the 55411 zip code, can be differentiated and analyzed.

Thus, are the dynamics of the wages (how wages change over time) shown to be relatively equal to one another? Are the dynamics of the wages of the 55411 zip code shown to be greater than Minneapolis? Or are the dynamics of the wages of the 55411 zip code shown to be less than Minneapolis?

As Graph 1 illustrates, we can see that the wage rate of Minneapolis is steeper than the wage rate of the 55411 zip code in Graph 2. And we’re not just eyeing this. We can see this distinctly via the linearization equations in Graph 1 and Graph 2.

The linearization equation in Graph 1 (y = 6.4152x + 1083.1) shows a rate of 6.4 and the linearization equation in Graph 2 (y = 2.2805x + 823.6) shows a rate of 2.3, if both rates of change are rounded-off. Obviously, 6.4 is greater than 2.3, and by quite a bit. Why is this important?

Graph 2

Dynamically (how wages change over time), this shows the wages of Minneapolis are growing at a greater rate than the wages of the 55411 zip code. Of course, these equations also show that the average weekly wages of Minneapolis are between $250 and $300 higher than the 55411 zip code.

This little bit of information ought to provide policy makers with some much-needed direction to create and apply economic policy. Of course the operative modal verb is “ought to.”

So do you think local policy makers would consider differentiating between the part and the whole when creating economic policy? Or do you think local policy makers would just create and apply the same policy for both the part and the whole?


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Copyright ©2017 – The Systems Scientist

Has the number of business establishments in Minneapolis increased since 2006?

Analyzing data always provides interesting insights. For example, a simple analysis of establishment (business) data from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) reveals some fascinating insights into the systems dynamics – a system changing over time – of the Minneapolis marketplace with respect to business firms.

As the data, Graph 1, reveals, the number of establishments, or businesses, in Minneapolis has been decreasing for at least the past 10 years. Why is this so? This blog will not venture into such speculation. This is because the system’s perspective is limited to only establishment data. A multivariate perspective (multiple perspectives) is needed to find such possible reasons.


Graph 1

As Graph 1 illustrates, the number of firms per quarter has been decreasing since at least 2006. And although this rate has been variable, which is to be expected because the marketplace is probabilistic, the overall trend has been negative.

Furthermore, this overall negative trend can be shown in a couple of different ways. First, it can be illustrated via linearization. As Graph 2 shows, the overall trend is negative. That is, the Minneapolis marketplace decreased in the total number of establishments between the 1st Quarter of 2006 and the 3rd Quarter of 2016.

Graph 2

It should be noted that the linearization seen here is not the same linearization as in dynamical systems. In dynamical systems, linearization is an approximation “to a function at a given point.” Obviously this is not the case here.

Again, the main idea to take away from linearization, in the way it is used here, is the overall trend of the graph – did the marketplace gain businesses over the period stated in Graph 2, did the marketplace lose businesses over the period stated in Graph 2, or did the marketplace remain about the same over the period stated in Graph 2?

And finally, the marketplace behavior of business establishments in Minneapolis can be illustrated through Vector Algebra. Yes! That’s right – Vector Algebra. In this case, there will be no math included, just an illustration of direction via Graph 3, so there is no reason to be alarmed.

Graph 3

As Graph 3 shows, the overall dynamics, or vector, of the marketplace is negative in regards to the number of establishments from the 1st Quarter of 2006 through the 3rd Quarter of 2016. And the vectors, those letter “a’s” with the hats over them, further illustrate a greater decrease in total establishment between the 1st Quarter of 2006 and the 3rd Quarter of 2010 than between the 3rd Quarter of 2010 and the 3rd Quarter of 2016.

Of course, these vectors could further be broken into smaller vectors. But the way the algebra works, each vector that is computed in this system should add up to the overall vector, which is negative. Thus, this decomposition of the system behavior provides a more conclusive way of viewing the dynamics of this particular system than how linearization is being used here. And the vector idea, along with the math, supports the initial observation. That is, the total number of establishments in the Minneapolis marketplace has decreased since at least the 1st Quarter of 2006.

So how does this market behavior compare to the county or state level? How does Minneapolis compare to the zip codes that reside within it?

And another interesting question to ask one’s self is, has employment increased, decreased, or stayed the same in Minneapolis? And what does this mean for the number of employees per establishment?


Matt Johnson is a writer for the Urban Dynamics blog; and is a mathematical scientist. He has also contributed to the Iowa State Daily and Our Black News.

You can connect with him directly in the comments section, and follow him on LinkedIn or Facebook

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Copyright ©2017 – The Systems Scientist


A quick view of an economic system

By Matt Johnson

In this short blog, I will illustrate one way an urban dynamicist, i.e., systems scientist, looks at an economic system and its data.

Diagram 1

Diagram 1 is hierarchical, derives from the U.S. Census Bureau, and represents a few of the many levels of an economic system. Moreover, each level of the economic system in Diagram 1 is further a sub-system, or sub-economy, of the general United States economy.

This means that a zip code, for example, can be examined as an economic system, and then it can be compared and contrasted with a city’s economic system. And this examination will illustrate similarities and differences between a sub-system, a zip code, and a general system, a city, for instance.

Thus, an urban dynamicist can partition out each level of the economic system and analyze each level as a distinct entity, although one system is still a sub-system of the one superior to it in the hierarchy. Within each level, differences, relationships, perspectives, dynamics, and models can be examined through data.

As stated before, each level of the system can be analyzed against the other levels of the system through data, because data provides a picture at each level of the system. For example, the State can be illustrated and compared to the Division, Zip Code, or Census Tract via crime densities, demographic comparisons and migration patterns, and economic variables such as median household incomes, unemployment rates, the labor force and labor participation rates.

Here is the stochastic (probabilistic) behavior of the labor force in Minneapolis over the past 10 years as seen here in Graph 1.

Graph 1

And here is the stochastic (probabilistic) behavior of the Minnesota labor force over the past 10 years as illustrated in Graph 2.

Future articles will delve deeper into the specifics of the behavior and dynamics of these two systems and their respective data sets. For now, the main point is that data can provide a picture of the economic systems at their respective levels of the system.

One last thought, Diagram 1 does not illustrate the interactions or dynamics that take place within each level of the system by itself, nor does it account for a lot of things. This is why the data is needed. So assumptions and conclusions should be limited.

As this focus on data continues, I will be utilizing the hierarchical model and other systems models to help illustrate and explain how economic systems can be better understood. In addition, I will be using systems theory along with applied mathematics to explore the complexity of systems. But I will also be working diligently and meticulously to convey this information to you the best I can.

As I get better at explaining this stuff to you, I hope your knowledge of systems, mathematics, and economics increases as well.


Matt Johnson is a writer for the Urban Dynamics blog; and is a mathematical scientist. He has also contributed to the Iowa State Daily and Our Black News.

You can connect with him directly in the comments section, and follow him on Facebook

Photo credit: Pixabay






Copyright ©2017 – The Systems Scientist



Nekima Levy-Pounds doesn’t have a plan

By Jamar Nelson

Nekima is not only strong but arrogant and sometimes confuses her strength for brute. Nekima can definitely call people together, sometimes speak to their hearts, and on occasion say what many people won’t or are afraid to say. Great!

Gathering people is cool, but it needs to be done for the right cause, i.e., jobs, housing, business, and crime. One example of a cause that needs to be addressed is, how black on black crime is concentrated and rising at an astronomical rate on the north side of Minneapolis. It is not only destroying lives, but it is driving down the value of homes and taking innocent lives. Not to mention, it is adding to the already increasing rates of non-white males in the prison system. However, instead of addressing the issues, she will blame it all on the white man. Talking about black on black crime is not “doing the white man’s work” as she often says.

I’m not okay with the fact that she never wants to talk about black on black crime. Why I do I believe it is important for her to talk about black on black crime? It’s important because crime affects jobs, housing, businesses and the community.

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This issue is becoming not only redundant but more incredibly serious when you’ve had over 200 shootings in 2016; for which, the majority of these have been black on black or non-white on non-white. We know this because Minneapolis is still fairly segregated and the shootings are taking place in predominantly non-white neighborhoods. A candidate has to talk about it, have a plan for it, and be willing to discuss it with concerned constituents. With this said, one can only guess that 2017 will be the OK Corral.

So what would 2018 look like with Nekima Levy-Pounds at the helm? My guess it will be as cataclysmic as tornadoes.

Speaking of tornadoes, remember the tornado that hit North Minneapolis? Since then minority homeownership has gone down and she has never addressed this reality. Why is this important? It is important because if a man owns his own home he is less likely to break into another man’s home. This is because he has worked hard to earn and maintain what he has.

Here’s something else to consider regarding renting versus owning. Renting is at an all-time high! What’s her solution to increase minority home ownership? Once again she hasn’t addressed this reality and come out with a plan to change this reality.

As for entrepreneurship, why isn’t she talking about more minority-owned businesses in North Minneapolis and other parts of Minneapolis? What kind of policies could she put forth to rectify and increase minority business? This is important because businesses create jobs in the community. It’s also important because if a person has a job and learns there is dignity in work, he is less likely to rob another for what he has because he himself has worked hard to earn his coin. Yet again what’s her plan?

How about crime? The crime rate drastically brings down the value of someone’s home and as a homeowner why should he or she have to deal with the devaluing of their home due to nothing of their doing but only because of the crime in the neighborhood? Where is she on crime? What’s her plan?

Similarly, what is her plan about policing the communities? She would tell you she has had a positive affect on operations within the Minneapolis Police Department. I would so beg to differ. I don’t know one thing she can point to that she has changed for the better in the operations in the Minneapolis Police Department. The only thing she has done is added fuel to an already divisive fire. Once again what’s her plan?

Minneapolis is a multicultural city and it shows in the neighborhoods around the city. A Mayor must represent and reflect that as well. I have no doubt she will not because she doesn’t have a plan!


Jamar Nelson is a guest writer for The Systems Scientist. He is also a co-host of The Black Republican/Black Democrat Show on Twin Cities News Talk in Minneapolis, MN. He is a loyal Democrat and Dallas Cowboys fan.

 You can connect with him directly in the comments section, and follow him on Twitter or on Facebook

You can also follow The Systems Scientist on Twitter or Facebook.

Photo credit: Lorie Shaull




Copyright ©2017 – The Systems Scientist

How does Hodges’ unemployment rate compare to Rybak and Belton’s unemployment rates?

By Matt Johnson

On January 2, 2014, Betsy Hodges became Mayor of Minneapolis. And in January of 2014, she acquired a 4.6 percent unemployment rate. In other words, in January 2014, the average Minneapolis worker had a 4.6 percent chance of being unemployed. Almost 3 years later, the unemployment rate for Minneapolis in December of 2016 was 3.2 percent. This means that unemployment decreased by more than 30 percent during her first term as Mayor.

But if we look at and compare the Hodges, Rybak, and Belton administrations, we will see that Mayor Hodges doesn’t have the highest reduction in unemployment for a first term Minneapolis mayor. First, we will look at unemployment data for Mayor Hodges first term.

Here’s Graph/Data Table 1 for Mayor Hodges 3 years so far:

Graph/Data Table 1

Comparing Mayor Hodges to the previous 2 mayors – Sharon Sayles Belton and R.T. Rybak – with unemployment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we found that Mayor Hodges so far has had the largest decrease of an unemployment rate over the course of being mayor.

However, Mayor Hodges has been in office just over 3 years while Mayor Belton served two-terms (8 years) and Mayor Rybak served three-terms (12 years). So comparing apples to apples, and oranges to oranges is important. In other words, this analysis won’t compare one-term to two-terms, one-term to three-terms, and so on and so forth.

Rather, since Mayor Hodges has only accumulated data for less than one term, we are only going to compare first terms. Thus, if we look at Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton’s first term, we will see she started her first term with an unemployment rate of 4.4 percent and ended her first term with an unemployment rate of 2.4 percent. This means unemployment decrease by more than 45 percent under Mayor Belton’s first watch.

Here’s Graph/Data Table 2 for Mayor Belton’s first term:

Graph/Data Table 2

Finally, if we look at Mayor R.T. Rybak’s first term, we will see he started with a 5.1 percent unemployment rate and ended his first term with an unemployment rate of 3.6 percent, which was a 29 percent decrease in unemployment.

Here’s Graph/Data Table 3 for Mayor Rybak’s first term:

Graph/Data Table 3

Of course, this data does not show us which market inputs are correlated with unemployment behavior. However, the multivariable graphs do show us how the unemployment market behaved during each first term. For example, we can observe unemployment with respect to month and year; and we can compare unemployment with respect to month and year for each mayor, while comparing one mayor’s first term to another mayor’s first term.

Matter of fact, this is how we derive how much the unemployment rate has decrease over the length of time of the first term. Let’s use Mayor Hodges as our example, although this short method can be used to find Mayors Belton and Rybak’s unemployment rate reduction as well.

What we do is subtract the month of the first term by the last month of the first term, and divide that value by the month of the first term. Does this make sense? In other words, take 4.6 minus 3.2 and divide by 4.6. This gives us 30.4 percent.

I have provided an additional table for the reader which compares the total unemployment reduction for each first term:

Graph 4

Using this method, we could also find out how much unemployment decreased or increased every two years. There’s a lot of information hidden in the data that can be observed and utilized with a little mathematics.

Final thought, can any of these 3 mayors take credit for the behavior of unemployment during their respective times in office?

As I tell my readers in these articles and in private conversation, urban environments are probabilistic systems. They are not causal systems. So it is not the case that, for example, Mayor Hodges could apply a specific policy and expect it to cause a specific outcome with 100 percent certainty. That’s now how these urban systems work. Rather, it would more than likely be the case that Mayor Hodges would input a particular policy and maybe an expected output would produce a particular outcome.

But that’s still not quite correct, because it asserts a particular input can be traced to a particular output and that type of observational sophistication is not quite possible at this date and time (a policy acts a lot more like a roll of a dice). To pull off something like that would take a much more sophisticated form of systems analysis and mathematics beyond this article.

All we know from this short analysis of the data is that the unemployment rate decrease by more than 30 percent during Mayor Betsy Hodges time in office, so far. But in order to achieve the 45 percent reduction by Mayor Belton during her first term, the unemployment rate would need to decrease to at least 2.5 percent. That’s an entire percentage point with a little more than 10 months remaining in the 2017.


Matt Johnson is a writer for The Systems Scientist and the Urban Dynamics blog; and is a mathematical scientist. He has also contributed to the Iowa State Daily and Our Black News.

You can connect with him directly in the comments section, and follow him on Twitter or on Facebook

You can also follow The Systems Scientist on Twitter or Facebook.

Photo credit: Pixabay





Copyright ©2017 – The Systems Scientist

Nekima Levy-Pounds would fuel divisiveness as Minneapolis Mayor

By Jamar Nelson

With just over 8 months to go until the Minneapolis mayoral election, I’m writing this to let people know why I think Nekima Levy-Pounds is not the right choice for mayor of Minneapolis.

First, her divisiveness is dangerous and volatile. Plus, she doesn’t seem to recognize any issues other than criminal justice; for instance, high joblessness amongst black males; and there’s more to being mayor than just criminal justice. Second, who knows what she would do with the Minneapolis budget, however, she probably won’t get the chance with ranked choice voting.

Divisiveness and Identity Politics

She might know about criminal justice issues. But do I believe she would affect positive change for criminal justice in Minneapolis? No! I don’t believe she would affect any good change in criminal justice. Why? Her record. She hasn’t affected any positive change yet.

Instead, she’s always screaming how bad white folks are. I’ve been in plenty of NAACP meetings and I believe she believes all white folks are racist. As an example during the contentious time of Jamar Clark’s unjustified shooting death, I witnessed her have two white NAACP members, who were sitting there not doing anything or bothering anyone, removed for openly carrying firearms; but she didn’t kick out the black NAACP member who was also openly carrying a firearm. Hypocrisy!

Now granted the building we were in, I believe, did not allow open carry on the premises. And that’s fine. But again, she kicked out two white NAACP members for open carry and not the black NAACP member for open carry.

Given this example and her divisiveness, how well will she do with white folks? She will do well with some; and then there are those who know how incredibly divisive she is and believe her rhetoric to be racist.

Financial Issues

And how do I think she would deal with budgetary issues, i.e., the Minneapolis financial purse? I don’t know what she would do with a huge budget because, again, she doesn’t talk about financial issues, unless she’s implying white folks have all the money.

Another budget problem is she doesn’t seem to include any other colors in her plans other than black folks.

Minneapolis is 68 percent white. She’s got to be able to work with white folks, as well, to get things done in the city for minorities, but I never hear her come up with a jobs plan. To her credit, every candidate always says they’re going to bring jobs into the city, but no details. But who has she talked to? What incentives has she offered? Again, where’s her jobs plan?

However, whenever she’s pressed on any concerning issues, she normally lashes out and tries to bully or be physical, so how would she respond to being pressed on a jobs plan?

I’d like to know what companies she has approached; I’d like to know what companies she has invited to go into North and South Minneapolis to provide jobs. I highly doubt she has done this because most of the owners of those big companies are white males whom she tends to bash whenever she speaks publicly.

And as far as the Minneapolis City Council is concerned, she’s already butted heads with Council President Barb Johnson from what I understand.

To her credit, I’m sure she’ll hire the right people to help her put together a suitable budget. But I would have liked her to have done this because we never heard her speak of a budget when she was president of the NAACP. I’m not even sure if she grew the membership. She definitely didn’t oversee any increase in jobs.

Last thought, she wants to fire the police chief upon her election. I think it’s laughable because you can’t just fire the chief without cause. That litigation will cost the city millions of dollars. It certainly wouldn’t be a fiscally prudent way to start as mayor. But she might not even get the opportunity to fire the police chief because she has to find a way to get through rank choice voting. 

Ranked Choice Voting

Yeah! I believe she has a shot to win but ranked choice voting won’t help her.

I think enough people will come out for Betsy Hodges, Jacob Frey, and Raymond Dehn. And the fact that those others are in the race only complicates things for her. If she had a one-on-one with Hodges, she probably would beat her because I believe she would benefit from the ground swell of social justice youth voters.

But because there are other candidates, and 2nd and 3rd choice votes which won’t help her, she won’t. I don’t believe she’ll do well enough to win.

I’m writing this because I want my community to be aware of black folks with their fists in the air screaming, “Black power!” who don’t always have our best interests in mind; and I’m writing this article to stress the power of voting because we set the tone for our future, not the belief in a politician who tries to dictate how, when, and what we should feel by ignoring the will of the people of Minneapolis.


Jamar Nelson is a guest writer for The Systems Scientist. He is also a co-host of The Black Republican/Black Democrat Show on Twin Cities News Talk in Minneapolis, MN. He is a loyal Democrat and Dallas Cowboys fan.

 You can connect with him directly in the comments section, and follow him on Twitter or on Facebook

You can also follow The Systems Scientist on Twitter or Facebook.

Photo credit: Lorie Shaull




Copyright ©2017 – The Systems Scientist


Radio Jedi co-hosts Donald and Jamar invite TSS’s Matt Johnson onto the BRBD Show

By TSS Admin

brbd-v1Our very own Editor-in-chief, and research scientist, Matt Johnson will be making his radio debut as a guest on the Black Republican Black Democrat Show this Saturday, February 11th, at 6 pm on Twin Cities News Talk in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

He will join radio Jedi co-hosts Donald Allen (R) and Jamar Nelson (D) for the 6 to 7 pm central time hour. Together, they will take a closer look at the socio-economic data – crime, employment, housing, etc. – for Minneapolis, and other American cities. They will be delving into Matt’s “Number Shrewdness” to get the real scoop on the urban numbers that are not always presented in a truthful light.

What’s going on in Chicago and other cities? Why is there such disparity in economic wealth between racial groups? What might be done to address such issues? These are just a few of the questions that may be addressed during this Saturday’s show.

Where do you listen?

For our Twin Cities’ readers, just simply turn the terrestrial dial to AM 1130 or FM 103.5. For our national readers, just simply download the iHeartRadio app or you can listen LIVE via the world-wide web by going to www.TwinCitiesNewsTalk.com, which is an iHeartRadio station.


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