Northern Minnesota, traditionally home to a strong goods-producing sector, was hit hard by the Great Recession. The economy is still solidly grounded in its rich natural resources and strong manufacturing base, but the health care and social assistance sector weathered the recession to emerge as the largest employer in the region.
Think of northwestern Minnesota as the state’s sugar bowl.
Abundant ag resources – from wheat to sugar beets – fuel the region’s thriving food processing industry. Sugar beets make a substantial contribution to the Minnesota-North Dakota economy. Standout food manufacturing firms include American Crystal, Dean Foods and Lamb Weston which together employ nearly 1,500 people.