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Hiring boom in Thief River Falls creates housing shortage

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Two major employers in Thief River Falls are leading a jobs recovery in the northwest corner of Minnesota, but the housing market isn't keeping up with the hiring demand, the Star Tribune reports.

Digi-Key Corp., which makes and electronic parts, needs to hire up to 400 workers this year, while snowmobile maker Arctic Cat is adding 75 jobs.

Overall employment in Pennington County, Minn. has climbed more than 20 percent from 2000 to 2011, the second-fastest rate in the state, according to the newspaper

“It’s a little success story in rural America, and we’re just chugging along,” James Retka, dean of workforce and economic development at Northland Community & Technical College, told the Star Tribune. “The dilemma of this city is, does it want to grow? It’s a good problem to have, but like any good problem, there’s issues.”

City officials don't want to raise property taxes to extend lines and other infrastructure, so proposed apartment buildings have been near single-family homes.

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