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Central Region

central-minnesota-mapCentral Minnesota is a manufacturing stronghold, with several global manufacturing firms operating there.

The region is especially well known for its expertise in food processing, printing, furniture manufacturing, appliances, machinery and heavy equipment manufacturing.

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Employment Trends in Central Minnesota

8/10/2021 9:00:00 AM

Luke Greiner

Recently released data from the Department of Employment and Economic Development's (DEED) Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program allows us to see how employment is trending for Central Minnesota through the first quarter of 2021. This data, which provides a count of jobs at all establishments covered under the Unemployment Insurance Program, is available at several different geographic levels, including the State of Minnesota, its regions, counties, and cities.

During the first quarter of 2021, the 13-county Central Minnesota region of Minnesota had 18,962 establishments supplying an average of 259,172 covered jobs. Total quarterly payroll was just under $3.13 billion, with the average annual wage across all industries equal to $48,204. Over-the-year, between the first quarters of 2020 and 2021, total employment in Central Minnesota dropped by 13,284 jobs (Figure 1). This drop brought the region's first quarter employment to its lowest level since 2014. The region's employment drop of 4.9% between the first quarters of 2020 and 2021, however, was less severe than Minnesota's (-6.0%).

Central Minnesota Quarterly Employment Trends

Reading Figure 1, one will see that Central Minnesota did lose jobs between the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021. While this does represent a pause in employment recovery from the losses caused by COVID-19, it should be noted that the region typically loses jobs between the fourth and first quarters. This is largely due to seasonal losses in industries like Construction and Retail Trade. Over the past decade, Central Minnesota has shed an average of 8,200 jobs between quarter four and quarter one. This equates to an average employment loss of 3.1%. Between the fourth quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, however, the region lost just over 6,900 jobs (-2.6%). So, while the region still experienced seasonal employment loss during this time, it was not as severe as the historical average. Typical seasonal losses in 2021 were offset by employment growth in Accommodation and Food Services; Finance and Insurance; and Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services.

When analyzing industry trends between the first quarters of 2020 and 2021, it's clear which areas of Central Minnesota's labor market have been hit the hardest. During that period, Accommodation and Food Services lost nearly 4,000 jobs, declining by 17.0%. As such, this industry alone accounted for about 30% of the region's total employment losses over-the-year. Health Care and Social Assistance (-2,240 jobs; -4.4%); Manufacturing (-2,226 jobs; -5.4%); and Educational Services (-2,059 jobs; -8.0%) also lost a significant number of jobs between the first quarters of 2020 and 2021. Altogether, these four industries accounted for about three-quarters of the region's total employment losses over-the-year. Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation (-25.7%); Information (-9.0%); and Other Services (-7.5%) also lost significant employment between the first quarters of 2020 and 2021. In contrast, five industries gained jobs during this period including Finance and Insurance; Administrative and Support Services; Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting; Mining, and Management of Companies (Figure 2).

Central Minnesota Industry Trends

Zooming out, while Central Minnesota did lose jobs between the first quarters of 2020 and 2021, the region has improved upon previous annual trends. To summarize, the region experienced the following annual employment trends during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Quarter 2 2019 to Quarter 2 2020: -30,036 jobs (-10.7%)
  • Quarter 3 2019 to Quarter 3 2020: -16,755 jobs (-6.0%)
  • Quarter 4 2019 to Quarter 4 2020: -14,856 jobs (-5.3%)
  • Quarter 1 2020 to Quarter 1 2021: -13,284 jobs (-4.9%)

Continue to check back with DEED's QCEW data tool to see how Central Minnesota's industry employment continues to recover from COVID-19.

For More Information

Contact Luke Greiner at 320-308-5378.

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