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Diversity gains momentum in Greater Minnesota

by Cameron Macht
January 2016

From the rocky shores of Lake Superior in Northeast Minnesota to the wind-swept prairies of Southwest Minnesota, our state has diverse geographic regions. The workforce in Minnesota’s regions is also becoming more diverse over time. Over the past 20 years every region in the state saw an increase in the number of jobs held by minorities, with faster increases occurring in southern Minnesota and slower change happening in northern counties (see Table 1).


Table 1: Percentage of Jobs Held by Minorities by Region, 1995-2014

2014

Change from
1995-2014

Minnesota

14.2%

+6.8%

Twin Cities

18.0%

+8.5%

Southeast

9.8%

+5.4%

Southwest

9.4%

+5.1%

Northwest

8.4%

+3.8%

Central

7.0%

+3.7%

Northeast

6.8%

+2.9%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, LEHD, Quarterly Workforce Indicators (QWI)


The Twin Cities is still the most diverse region in the state with nearly one in five jobs held by minorities in 2014. Southeast Minnesota has the next most diverse workforce, followed by Southwest. The largest minority group of jobholders in both southern and central Minnesota were of Hispanic or Latino origin, while American Indians were the largest minority group working in northern Minnesota (see Table 2).


Table 2: Percentage of Jobs Held By Workers by Race or Origin, 2014

Race or Origin Category

Twin
Cities

Central

Northeast

Northwest

Southeast

Southwest

All Races

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

100.0%

White Alone

85.2%

95.4%

94.2%

93.5%

93.3%

94.8%

Black or African American

7.1%

1.7%

1.3%

1.2%

2.6%

2.2%

American Indian or Alaska Native

0.7%

0.8%

2.2%

3.1%

0.4%

0.6%

Asian or Other Pacific Islander

5.5%

1.2%

1.0%

1.0%

2.7%

1.6%

Two or More Race Groups

1.6%

0.9%

1.3%

1.2%

0.9%

0.8%

Hispanic or Latino Origin

4.2%

3.0%

1.7%

3.0%

3.7%

4.9%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, LEHD, Quarterly Workforce Indicators (QWI) program


CENTRAL MINNESOTA

Central Minnesota was the fastest growing region of the state over the past two decades, adding almost 65,000 net new jobs overall, a 32.2 percent increase. However, Central Minnesota is still one of the least diverse regions in the state, with more than 95 percent of the jobs held by workers identifying themselves as White Alone, despite a doubling in the minority workforce since 1995.

Workers of Hispanic or Latino origin comprised the largest minority group, holding 3.0 percent of total jobs after nearly tripling in number from 1995 to 2014. The count of jobs held by Black or African Americans increased over 400 percent in the past two decades, the fastest increase in the state, and every other racial group in the region at least doubled over the last 20 years (see Table 3).


Table 3: Central Minnesota Workforce Demographics

2014 Number of Jobs

2014 Percent of Jobs

1995-2014 Change

2010-2014 Change

All Races

261,218

100.0%

+32.2%

+12.6%

White Alone

249,221

95.4%

+28.9%

+11.9%

Black or African American

4,568

1.7%

+400.3%

+37.3%

American Indian or Alaska Native

2,028

0.8%

+102.8%

+15.9%

Asian or Other Pacific Islander

3,159

1.3%

+106.6%

+20.8%

Two or More Race Groups

2,243

0.9%

+170.6%

+37.9%

Hispanic or Latino

7,886

3.0%

+172.1%

+16.2%

Source: Quarterly Workforce Indicators (QWI)


More recently, QWI data shows that employers in Central Minnesota have relied heavily on workers of different races during the recovery, with the number of jobs taken by Black or African Americans or people of Two or More Races increasing three times as fast as the number of jobs taken by Whites from 2010 to 2014 (see Table 3).

In spite of the rapid gains, Central Minnesota has remained relatively non-diverse, with every industry having over 90 percent of jobs filled by Whites. As the three largest employing industries in the region, Manufacturing, Health Care and Social Assistance, and Retail Trade also had the largest numbers of minority workers, employing almost half of the minorities in Central Minnesota. Manufacturing was the largest employing industry for Hispanic or Latinos, while almost 17 percent of the jobs in Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting were held by Hispanic or Latino workers, making it one of the most diverse industries in the region.

In contrast, with over 98 percent of their workforces reporting White Alone as their race, the least diverse industries in the region were Mining and Utilities. However, they were also the smallest employing industries, and both saw employment declines from 1995 to 2014, making them the only industries to see a decrease in the number of jobs held by minority workers over the past 20 years.

NORTHEAST MINNESOTA

Northeast Minnesota had the least workforce diversity in the state, with less than 7 percent of jobs held by minorities in 2014. Northeast also saw the smallest increase in jobs held by minorities of the six regions in the state, although the region still saw a significant increase across all races and origins over the past 20 years (see Table 4).


Table 4: Northeast Minnesota Workforce Demographics

 

2014 Number of Jobs

2014 Percent of Jobs

1995-2014 Change

2010-2014 Change

All Races

149,817

100.0%

+22.6%

+8.5%

White Alone

141,112

94.2%

+19.4%

+8.0%

Black or African American

1,920

1.3%

+231.0%

+21.2%

American Indian or Alaska Native

3,345

2.2%

+73.5%

+11.2%

Asian or Other Pacific Islander

1,460

1.0%

+123.2%

+17.6%

Two or More Race Groups

1,982

1.3%

+111.5%

+24.2%

Hispanic or Latino

2,521

1.7%

+121.3%

+21.8%

Source: Quarterly Workforce Indicators (QWI)


The largest race group is American Indian and Alaska Natives, holding just over 2 percent of total jobs in the region. As in other regions, American Indians in Northeast Minnesota are most likely to be employed in Public Administration, Health Care and Social Assistance, Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation, and Accommodation and Food Services, with many of those jobs tied to casinos and tribal government. American Indians were the largest but slowest growing race group of workers over time – whereas the number of jobs held by Black or African Americans tripled from 1995 to 2014 and more than doubled for all other race and origin groups, including rapid gains in the past five years.

Notable because Northeast Minnesota is home to three-fourths of the state’s employment in Mining, it is the least diverse industry in the region. Minorities held less than 2 percent of the 5,300 mining jobs in the region in 2014, even though that was a 63 percent increase from 2010.

Asian or Other Pacific Islanders held the smallest number of jobs in Northeast Minnesota, but were most highly concentrated in the Professional and Technical Services industry, as well as Accommodation and Food Services, Transportation and Warehousing, and Health Care and Social Assistance.

NORTHWEST MINNESOTA

Over 3 percent of the jobs in Northwest Minnesota were held by American Indian or Alaska Natives, making it the largest minority group in the region, just ahead of workers of Hispanic or Latino origin. Just over 1 percent of jobs were held by workers from Two or More Races, Black or African Americans, and Asian or Other Pacific Islanders, respectively.

Northwest Minnesota showed the second fastest regional job growth in the state from 1995 to 2014, adding nearly 45,000 jobs. While over 80 percent of those were filled by White workers, the region also benefited from a rapid increase in diversity, with the fastest growth experienced by Black or African American workers (see Table 5).


Table 5: Northwest Minnesota Workforce Demographics

2014
Number of Jobs

2014 Percent of Jobs

1995-2014 Change

2010-2014 Change

All Races

222,740

100.0%

+25.0%

+8.4%

White Alone

208,331

93.5%

+21.4%

+7.3%

Black or African American

2,657

1.2%

+325.1%

+64.4%

American Indian or Alaska Native

6,841

3.1%

+90.1%

+21.3%

Asian or Other Pacific Islander

2,246

1.1%

+100.4%

+12.2%

Two or More Race Groups

2,665

1.2%

+123.9%

+28.8%

Hispanic or Latino

6,704

3.0%

+129.2%

+27.0%

Source: Quarterly Workforce Indicators (QWI)


With more than 25 percent of the jobs held by American Indians and only 67.5 percent of the jobs held by Whites, the Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation industry was the most diverse in Northwest Minnesota, followed by Public Administration, tied to the region’s tribal governments and casinos.

The fastest growing industry in Northwest Minnesota was Administrative Support and Waste Management, which more than doubled in size from 1995 to 2014. This included rapid increases in the number of jobs held by minorities. The second fastest growing industry in the region was Wholesale Trade, which added over 5,000 jobs from 1995 to 2014, a 74 percent increase. However, 97 percent of the jobs are held by Whites, with Hispanic workers the largest minority group despite holding just 200 of the 12,000 jobs in the industry in 2014.

SOUTHEAST MINNESOTA

Southeast Minnesota’s workforce also became much more diverse over the past two decades. After nearly tripling since 1995, almost 9,000 jobs in the region were held by workers of Hispanic or Latino origin, while the number of jobs held by Asian residents doubled to nearly 6,500, and the number of jobs held by Black or African American workers nearly tripled from 1995 to 2014 (see Table 6).


Table 6: Southeast Minnesota Workforce Demographics

 

2014
Number of Jobs

2014 Percent of Jobs

1995-2014 Change

2010-2014 Change

All Races

239,339

100.0%

+17.3%

+5.7%

White Alone

223,392

93.3%

+13.1%

+4.9%

Black or African American

6,334

2.6%

+292.4%

+35.5%

American Indian or Alaska Native

961

0.4%

+49.0%

+13.9%

Asian or Other Pacific Islander

6,485

2.9%

+97.7%

+4.3%

Two or More Race Groups

2,168

0.9%

+126.5%

+22.9%

Hispanic or Latino

8,940

3.7%

+189.3%

-0.7%

Source: Quarterly Workforce Indicators (QWI)


However, the number of jobs held by Hispanic or Latino workers declined slightly during the recovery in Southeast Minnesota, the only region to see a decline in jobs held by any minority group between 2010 and 2014. Southeast also had the smallest number of jobs held by American Indian or Alaska Natives of the six regions in the state.

Anchored by the Rochester metropolitan area, the largest industry in the region was Health Care and Social Assistance, which provided almost 60,000 jobs in 2014. About 55,000 of those jobs were filled by workers who were White, but another 2,200 jobs were held by Asian or Other Pacific Islanders, and just under 1,700 were filled by Black or African American workers.

The most diverse industries in the region were in Agriculture with over 12 percent of workers reporting Hispanic or Latino origin, Administrative Support and Waste Management Services, with over 15 percent of workers not white, and Accommodation and Food Services with over 4 percent of jobs held by Black or African American workers, Asian or Other Pacific Islanders, and Hispanic or Latino jobholders, respectively.

SOUTHWEST MINNESOTA

Although it had the second smallest number of jobs of the six regions in the state, Southwest Minnesota had the largest number of jobs held by Hispanic or Latino workers in Greater Minnesota, comprising nearly 5 percent of total employment in 2014 (see Table 7). Hispanic or Latino workers in the region were most likely to be found in Manufacturing, holding 13 percent of jobs in that industry after nearly doubling since 1995. Health Care and Social Assistance also picked up many new Hispanic or Latino workers over the past 20 years, as did Retail Trade, Accommodation and Food Services, and Agriculture.


Table 7: Southwest Minnesota Workforce Demographics

 

2014
Number of Jobs

2014 Percent of Jobs

1995-2014 Change

2010-2014 Change

All Races

185,113

100.0%

+13.2%

+5.3%

White Alone

175,503

94.8%

+9.9%

+4.7%

Black or African American

4,019

2.2%

+296.7%

+25.5%

American Indian or Alaska Native

1,131

0.6%

+112.2%

+16.4%

Asian or Other Pacific Islander

2,970

1.7%

+67.6%

+7.1%

Two or More Race Groups

1,491

0.8%

+145.6%

+26.4%

Hispanic or Latino

9,080

4.9%

+151.1%

+15.4%

Source: Quarterly Workforce Indicators (QWI)


The number of jobs held by Black or African American workers increased fastest in Southwest Minnesota from 1995 to 2014, most notably in Health Care and Social Assistance, which jumped from 70 jobs in 1995 to 1,318 jobs in 2014. Black workers also gained a foothold in Manufacturing, but comprised less than half a percent of jobs in Mining, Utilities, Public Administration, and Finance and Insurance.

Over one-third of the jobs held by Asian or Other Pacific Islanders in Southwest Minnesota were in Manufacturing, with another 40 percent spread across Health Care and Social Assistance, Retail Trade, and Accommodation and Food Services.

Despite the increasing diversity of students enrolled in schools in the region, the Educational Services industry remained non-diverse, with over 97 percent of jobs held by Whites. While the region’s schools and colleges saw huge percentage leaps in jobs held by other races over the last two decades, the workforce still doesn’t match the diversity of the students.

Relying on Diversity

Data clearly show that employers are relying more and more on a more diverse labor force across the state. If the next 20 years bring as much change as the last 20 years, every industry in every region will be greatly affected. Different industries have taken different approaches in different regions, but the entire state has seen the same positive result – a more diverse workforce.

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