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Job Vacancy Survey Findings

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During the second quarter of 2020, employers in Minnesota reported a total of 111,753 vacancies, down 23.7% from second quarter 2019. Due to economic changes brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, this is the first survey period since 2016 when there are more unemployed workers than job vacancies (see Figure 1).

Q22020_Figure1  

These 111,753 vacancies translate into a job vacancy rate of 4.0%, or 4.0 job openings per 100 jobs. This rate is down from 5.3% one year ago, and is the lowest posted since the second quarter of 2016, when there were 97,580 vacancies and a job vacancy rate of 3.6%.

Statewide, there were 2.4 unemployed persons for each vacancy, halting a three year streak of having more job vacancies than available job seekers. This is the highest number of job seekers per vacancy reported since 2012, when there were 2.6 unemployed workers for each opening. However, it is still significantly lower than the peak of 8 jobseekers per vacancy reached in the midst of the Great Recession in 2009.

Up until the pandemic, the state had been dealing with an extremely tight labor market. The reversal reflects a surge in unemployed workers due to pandemic-related economic changes. There were just under 100,000 unemployed workers in the second quarter of 2019, compared to nearly 275,000 unemployed workers this summer. Table 1 provides historical data.

Table 1. Job Vacancies in Minnesota, 2001 to 2020

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

2nd Quarter 2020

111,753

4.0

2.4

 

Regional Findings

Regionally, 65,879 or 59% of all job vacancies were located in the seven-county Twin Cities metro area, while the remaining 45,874 vacancies, or 41%, were located in Greater Minnesota. Compared to one year ago, the number of job vacancies decreased by 23.4% in the Twin Cities and 24.1% in Greater Minnesota. The Twin Cities’ job vacancy rate was 3.8% and Greater Minnesota’s was 4.3%. The Twin Cities had 2.5 job seekers for each vacancy and Greater Minnesota had 2.4 job seekers for each vacancy.

Findings by Industry and Occupation

Statewide, the Health Care & Social Assistance industry had the most job vacancies, followed by Retail Trade and Accommodation and Food Services (see Figure 2). Sixteen of the 20 industries saw a year-over-year decline in the number of vacancies posted, with the biggest drops in Accommodation and Food Services, Manufacturing, and Health Care and Social Assistance. Information saw the biggest increase over the year – likely due to heightened demand for telecommunications and internet services.

Q22020_Figure2 

By occupational group, Sales & Related had the most vacancies with 14,394 openings, followed by Food Preparation & Serving Related (13,395), Healthcare Support (12,957), Healthcare Practitioners & Technical (9,474), and Transportation and Material Moving (8,564). While vacancies were down 20% in both sales and transportation occupations, and down 40% for food prep and serving workers, demand was up for healthcare workers, particularly in healthcare support.

The detailed occupations with the most vacancies during second quarter 2020 were Personal Care Aides with 7,971 vacancies, Retail Salespersons with 6,131 postings, Fast Food and Counter Workers with 4,372 openings, Stockers and Order Fillers with 3,882 vacancies, and First-line Supervisors of Retail Workers with 3,727 postings.

Characteristics of Job Vacancies

Along with the number of vacancies, employers also report on the characteristics of their job vacancies. Some key characteristics of second quarter 2020 Minnesota job vacancies are as follows:

    • Thirty-eight percent are for part-time employment, representing 42,374 vacancies. Part-time is defined as fewer than 35 hours per week.
    • Nineteen percent are for temporary or seasonal work.
    • Thirty-three percent of vacancies require some level of post-secondary education or training beyond a high school diploma. This means that about two-thirds of vacancies still require no education beyond a high school diploma or equivalent.
    • Forty-three percent require one or more years of work experience.
    • The median (50th percentile) wage offer for all job vacancies is $15.95 per hour. Wage offers are highly correlated with experience and education requirements (see Figure 3).
    • The median wage offer for part-time vacancies was $13.82, compared to $17.93 for full-time vacancies.
    • Fifty-four percent of vacancies offer health insurance. Health care benefits are by far less common for part-time job vacancies (25%) than for full-time job vacancies (81%).

Q22020_Figure3 

Trends in Vacancies and Wage Offers

  • At $15.95, the median wage offer is up 6.3% from one year ago, and is the highest ever reported. Wage offers have increased 22.8% since the second quarter of 2015.
  • Over the year, median wage offers rose the most in vacancies requiring an associate’s degree, up 8.0%, followed by a high school diploma, up 6.8%. Wage offers also increased more for part-time vacancies than for full-time vacancies.
  • Median wage offers are higher than they have ever been for vacancies requiring no education ($12.96 per hour) and for a high school diploma ($15.61 per hour). However, the number of vacancies requiring a high school diploma or less dropped by 26.7% compared to second quarter 2019, the largest drop for any educational group.
  • The number of vacancies actually increased by 7% for jobs requiring an advanced degree, and held steady for jobs requiring vocational training. However, while the median wage offer rose slightly for jobs requiring advanced degrees, wage offers fell 11% for occupations requiring vocational training.
  • Job vacancies overall were down 23.7% over the year, but part-time vacancies declined only 17.2% whereas full-time vacancies dropped 27.7%.

Findings by Size

By size of firms, the largest number of vacancies were posted at medium-sized employers with 10 to 49 employees, accounting for over one-third (40,968 vacancies) of total openings. Another 30,000 vacancies were at employers with 50 to 249 employees, while the smallest businesses (1 to 9 employees) reported nearly 25,000 postings. The smallest number of vacancies were at the largest employers, and they also showed the biggest decline in job vacancies over the year.

The largest firms, those with 250 or more employees, had the lowest vacancy rate at 1.6%, but also had the highest median wage offer ($18.83 per hour) and were the most likely to offer health insurance (67% of vacancies). Wage offers increased the most at small employers over the past year, indicative of the higher job vacancy rate and increasing demand for workers.

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 6,000 firms stratified by 6 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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