Measuring Minnesota

by Nick Dobbins
June 2013

Current unemployment rates suggest that Minnesota is doing relatively well in our recovery from the recent recession. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Minnesota’s unemployment rate as of June 2013 was just 5.2 percent, which compares very favorably to the national rate of 7.6 percent.1

But does this tell the whole story? Minnesota may have better-than-average employment, but not all jobs are created equal. Utah, for example, maintains one of the best unemployment rates in the country (4.7% as of June) but finished 2012 with the fifth lowest per capita personal income.2 So how much money are Minnesotans making? Table 1 looks at our per capita income, which includes not only the wages of those with jobs, but all income for all residents.

Minnesotans are bringing in better-than-average money, compared to both the country and many of our Midwestern neighbors (Figure 1). Of course, this could still be a product of our higher-than-average employment rate. However, our average weekly wage, which includes only wages from employment, also suggests that the jobs we have are well-paying ones.

In this category, as in per capita income, we are outperforming both the national average and most of our nearest neighbors. This income data, combined with continued good news on the unemployment front, suggests that not only are Minnesotans finding jobs, we’re finding good jobs.

Table 1

2012 Per Capita Personal Income, by State

State

Per Capita Income

U.S. Rank

North Dakota

$51,893

6

Minnesota

$46,227

11

Illinois

$44,815

16

South Dakota

$43,659

18

Nebraska

$43,143

20

United States

$42,693

NA

Iowa

$42,126

22

Wisconsin

$40,537

26

Ohio

$39,289

30

Michigan

$37,497

35

Indiana

$36,902

39

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2012 State Personal Income: www.bea.gov/newsreleases/regional/spi/2013/pdf/spi0313.pdf

Chart: Difference Between National and State Average Weekly Wages


1United States Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics: June 2013 Unemployment Estimates
2United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis: 2012 State Personal Income. www.bea.gov/newsreleases/regional/spi/2013/pdf/spi0313.pdf