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Job Vacancy Survey Findings

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During fourth quarter 2018, employers reported a total of 136,917 vacancies, up 20.3 percent from fourth quarter 2017 (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Minnesota Job Vacancies and Unemployed,
Fourth Quarter 2001 to Fourth Quarter 2018

 line graph- Number of Unemployed and Number of Job Vacancies 2001-2018

These 136,917 vacancies translate into a job vacancy rate of 4.9 percent, or 4.9 job openings per 100 jobs. This rate is up from 4.2 percent one year ago.

Statewide, there were 0.6 unemployed persons for each vacancy, meaning that there are more open positions than unemployed individuals in Minnesota. This is down from one year ago when there were 0.8 unemployed person for each vacancy. The current rate suggests that the labor market is extremely tight as baby boomers retire and job growth continues at a moderate pace. It is likely that many employers are finding it difficult to fill open positions. Table 1 provides historical data.

Table 1: Job Vacancies in Minnesota, 2001 to 2018

Number of Job Vacancies

Number of Vacancies
per 100 Jobs

Number of Unemployed
per Vacancy

2nd Quarter 2001

115,072

4.5

0.9

4th Quarter 2001

79,793

3.1

1.4

2nd Quarter 2002

69,715

2.8

1.9

4th Quarter 2002

56,166

2.2

2.0

2nd Quarter 2003

53,246

2.1

2.6

4th Quarter 2003

50,439

2.0

2.6

2nd Quarter 2004

66,543

2.6

2.0

4th Quarter 2004

51,137

2.0

2.3

2nd Quarter 2005

59,513

2.3

2.0

4th Quarter 2005

61,554

2.4

1.8

2nd Quarter 2006

64,958

2.5

1.7

4th Quarter 2006

55,736

2.1

2.0

2nd Quarter 2007

62,569

2.4

2.1

4th Quarter 2007

50,594

1.9

2.5

2nd Quarter 2008

51,722

2.0

2.9

4th Quarter 2008

31,066

1.2

5.5

2nd Quarter 2009

31,358

1.2

7.9

4th Quarter 2009

25,885

1.0

8.2

2nd Quarter 2010

41,397

1.6

4.8

4th Quarter 2010

33,804

1.4

5.8

2nd Quarter 2011

54,670

2.2

3.6

4th Quarter 2011

49,890

2.0

3.2

2nd Quarter 2012

62,949

2.5

2.6

4th Quarter 2012

58,864

2.3

2.6

2nd Quarter 2013

72,569

2.8

2.1

4th Quarter 2013

60,397

2.3

2.1

2nd Quarter 2014

84,696

3.3

1.6

4th Quarter 2014

88,927

3.4

1.1

2nd Quarter 2015

97,997

3.7

1.2

4th Quarter 2015

96,114

3.6

1.0

2nd Quarter 2016

97,580

3.6

1.2

4th Quarter 2016

97,374

3.6

1.1

2nd Quarter 2017

122,929

4.5

0.9

4th Quarter 2017

113,774

4.2

0.8

2nd Quarter 2018

142,282

5.2

0.6

4th Quarter 2018

136,917

4.9

0.6


Regional Findings

Regionally, 76,542 or 55.9 percent of all job vacancies were located in the Twin Cities seven-county area, while the remaining 60,374 vacancies, or 44.1 percent, were located in Greater Minnesota during fourth quarter 2018. Compared to one year ago, the number of job vacancies increased by 11.2 percent in the Twin Cities and 34.4 percent in Greater Minnesota.

The Twin Cities’ job vacancy rate was 4.5 percent and Greater Minnesota’s was 5.7 percent. Both the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota have a ratio of less than one unemployed persons to every one job vacancy: The Twin Cities ratio is 0.5 unemployed person to each vacancy while Greater Minnesota’s ratio is 0.7 unemployed persons to each vacancy.

Findings by Industry, Occupation and Size

Statewide, the Health Care & Social Assistance industry had the most job vacancies, followed by Retail Trade, Accommodation & Food Service, and Manufacturing (see Figure 2).

Figure 2. Minnesota Job Vacancies by Industry Sector, Fourth Quarter 2018

Figure 2. Minnesota Job Vacancies by Industry Sector, Fourth Quarter 2018

By occupational group, Food Preparation & Serving had the most job vacancies followed by Sales & Related, Personal Care & Service, Office & Administrative Support, Transportation & Material Moving and Production occupations.

The occupations with the most job vacancies during fourth quarter 2018 were Retail Salespersons with 7,423 vacancies, Personal Care Aides with 6,781 vacancies and Combined Food Preparation and Serving Worker with 6,743 vacancies.

By size, firms with 10 to 49 employees had the highest job vacancy rate at 7.1 percent, followed by firms with 1 to 9 employees, at 6.5 percent. The largest firms, those with 250 or more employees, had the lowest vacancy rate at 2.9 percent. These large firms also had the lowest share of part-time vacancies (32 percent of vacancies) and the highest median wage offer ($18.68 per hour) and were the most likely to offer health insurance (72 percent of vacancies).

Characteristics of Job Vacancies

Along with the number of vacancies, employers also report on the characteristics of their job vacancies. Some key characteristics of fourth quarter 2018 Minnesota job vacancies are as follows:

    • Thirty-seven percent are for part-time employment. Part-time is defined as fewer than 35 hours per week.
    • Nine percent are for temporary or seasonal work.
    • Thirty-five percent require some level of post-secondary education or training beyond a high school diploma. This means the majority of vacancies require no education beyond a high school diploma or equivalent.
    • Forty-five percent require one or more years of work experience.
    • The median (50th percentile) wage offer for all job vacancies is $15.01 per hour. Wage offers are highly correlated with experience and education requirements (see Figure 3).
    • Fifty-six percent of vacancies offer health insurance. Health care benefits are by far less common for part-time job vacancies than for full-time job vacancies.

Figure 3. Minnesota Job Vacancies by Education and Experience Required With Wage Offers, Fourth Quarter 2018


Figure 3. Minnesota Job Vacancies by Education and Experience Required With Wage

Trends in Vacancies and Wage Offers

Some of the most notable one and five year changes in the number of vacancies and wage offers are listed below.

Median wage offers:

  • The median wage offer is up 4.7 percent from one year ago. This compares to 2.4 percent inflation (based on the Consumer Price Index).
  • Over the year, median wage offers rose the most in vacancies requiring a Bachelor’s Degree, up 8.4 percent, followed by a high school diploma, up 7.0 percent, and vocational training, up 6.0 percent.
  • Median wage offers are higher than they have ever been for vacancies requiring no education, a high school diploma or vocational training. Over a five year period, fourth quarter 2013 to 2018, median wage offers rose 32.6 percent for vacancies with no educational requirement, 23.5 percent for vacancies requiring a high school diploma and 20.6 percent for vacancies requiring vocational training.
  • In comparison, median wage offers for all vacancies rose 15.5 percent and the cost of living rose 8.0 percent over the same five year period.

Number of job vacancies:

  • Vacancies rose the most in jobs requiring a Bachelor’s degree or more, up 23.8 percent from last year. Vacancies requiring vocational training or an Associate’s degree rose 16.4 percent and vacancies requiring a high school diploma or less rose 14.9 percent compared to last year.
  • Vacancies were up in every industry except Utilities and Public Administration compared to one year ago.
  • Vacancies rose the most in Real Estate, up 102 percent, and Agriculture, up 77 percent compared to one year ago.
  • Over a five year period, fourth quarter 2013 to 2018, vacancies requiring a high school diploma or less were up by 40,700, those requiring vocational training or an Associate’s degree were up by 7,700 and those requiring a Bachelor’s or advanced degree were up by 4,910 openings.

Which Occupations Are in Demand?

Jobseekers and employers want to know who is hiring and for what fields of work. Job vacancy counts alone are not a complete picture of labor market demand since larger occupations tend to have higher numbers of vacancies.

Occupations in Demand (OID) provides a ranked list of occupations currently in demand, along with links to occupational descriptions, wages and programs of study. Lists are available for Minnesota as well as the 13 sub-state Economic Development Regions. These lists use measures of demand from Job Vacancy Survey statistics as well as other sources of data including Unemployment Insurance claimants and Occupational Employment Statistics.

What is the Minnesota Job Vacancy Survey?

Employers provide information on their job vacancies twice a year to enable us to estimate hiring demand and job vacancy characteristics by industry, occupation and firm size in Minnesota. The information is gathered through a survey of about 10,000 firms stratified by 13 regions of the state, 20 industry sectors, and 4 size classes

These data provide job seekers and counselors with information on occupations showing hiring demand within their region. The information also helps employment, training and education providers understand current labor market conditions in their region and tailor services to better meet customer and employer needs. Finally, the data provides a leading labor market indicator.

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