The Minnesota Index spiked upwards again in December advancing 0.6 percent. Over the last three months the index has increased on average 0.7 percent which is the highest three-month average since early 1994. The index’s advance was powered by another drop in the unemployment rate which fell from 3.2 percent to 3.1 percent in December, increasing wage and salary employment, a bump in average weekly manufacturing hours, and rising paychecks. The U.S. index advanced 0.2 percent.
Minnesota’s index was up 4.9 percent over the year which was the highest gain since August 2014. The index’s over-the-year growth rate slowed in 2016 reaching a low of 2.0 percent in June 2016. Since then the state’s economy has gained momentum aided by a rebounding manufacturing sector. The U.S. index over-the-year growth in December was 2.7 percent. Minnesota’s index trailed the national index during the first half of 2017 but raced ahead during the second half of the year.