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Job Vacancy Survey Findings

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During fourth quarter 2019, employers reported a total of 127,550 vacancies, down 6.8 percent from fourth quarter 2018 (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Minnesota Job Vacancies and Unemployed, Fourth Quarter 2001 to Fourth Quarter 2019

Figure 1.

These 127,550 vacancies translate into a job vacancy rate of 4.6 percent, or 4.6 job openings per 100 jobs. This rate is down slightly from 4.9 percent one year ago.

Statewide, there were 0.7 unemployed persons for each vacancy, meaning that there were more open positions than unemployed individuals in Minnesota. This is up slightly from one year ago when there were 0.6 unemployed persons 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 were finding it difficult to fill open positions during fourth quarter 2019. Table 1 provides historical data.

Table 1. Job Vacancies in Minnesota, 2001 to 2019

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

2nd Quarter 2019

146,513

5.3

0.6

4th Quarter 2019

127,550

4.6

0.7

 

Regional Findings

Regionally, 75,572 or 59.2 percent of all job vacancies were located in the seven-county Twin Cities metro area, while the remaining 51,978 vacancies, or 40.8 percent, were located in Greater Minnesota during fourth quarter 2019. Compared to one year ago, the number of job vacancies declined by just 1.3 percent in the Twin Cities, but 13.9 percent in Greater Minnesota.

The Twin Cities’ job vacancy rate was 4.4 percent and Greater Minnesota’s was 4.9 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 0.6 unemployed person to each vacancy while Greater Minnesota’s ratio is 0.9 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 2019

Figure 2

By occupational group, Food Preparation & Serving had the most job vacancies followed by Sales & Related, Personal Care & Service, Office & Administrative Support, and Healthcare Practitioners and Technical occupations.

The occupations with the most job vacancies during fourth quarter 2019 were Personal Care Aides with 6,624 vacancies, Retail Salespersons with 6,490 vacancies, Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers with 4,700 vacancies, and Nursing Assistants with 3,051 vacancies.

By size, firms with 10 to 49 employees had the highest job vacancy rate at 6.7 percent, followed by firms with 1 to 9 employees, at 6.3 percent. The largest firms, those with 250 or more employees, had the lowest vacancy rate at 2.6 percent. These large firms also had the highest median wage offer ($18.35 per hour) and were the most likely to offer health insurance (68 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 2019 Minnesota job vacancies are as follows:

    • Thirty-eight percent are for part-time employment. Part-time is defined as fewer than 35 hours per week.
    • Eleven percent are for temporary or seasonal work.
    • Thirty-three percent require some level of post-secondary education or training beyond a high school diploma. This means the other two-thirds 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 $15.62 per hour. Wage offers are highly correlated with experience and education requirements (see Figure 3).
    • Fifty-five percent of vacancies offer health insurance. Health care benefits are by far less common for part-time job vacancies (19%) than for full-time job vacancies (85%).

Figure 3. Minnesota Job Vacancies by Education and Experience Required With Wage Offers, Fourth Quarter 2019

Figure 3 

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. Also, look at job vacancy trends on a new DEED data tool .

Median wage offers:

  • The median wage offer is up 4.1 percent from one year ago. This compares to 2.3 percent inflation (based on the Consumer Price Index).
  • Over the year, median wage offers rose the most in vacancies requiring a Advanced Degrees, up 40 percent, compared to about a 3.5 to 5 percent increase for all other education categories with the exception of Bachelor’s Degrees, where the median wage offer dropped slightly.
  • Median wage offers are higher than they have ever been for vacancies requiring no education, a high school diploma or vocational training. Median wage offers have increased 17.5 percent from the fourth quarter 2014 to the fourth quarter 2019, with even larger increases for jobs with lower educational requirements.

Number of job vacancies:

  • Like the overall number, vacancies declined for all but two educational categories over the past year. Vacancies requiring a high school diploma increased 3.3 percent and an Associate’s degree rose 0.9 percent compared to last year. In contrast, the number of vacancies requiring advanced degrees dropped 42 percent, and openings for workers with vocational training fell 12 percent.
  • Vacancies declined in 12 of the 20 main industries compared to one year ago, with the biggest gain seen in Health Care and Social Assistance and the biggest drops seen in Manufacturing, Administrative Support and Waste Management Services, and Transportation and Warehousing.
  • Vacancies increased fastest in Utilities, which rose 82.4 percent, and Public Administration, which increased 22.6 percent compared to one year ago. Vacancies declined most rapidly in Real Estate, Rental and Leasing, which was down 52.8 percent, and Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting, down 51 percent compared to fourth quarter 2018.

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 6 sub-state planning 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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