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Hennepin County: A Cut Above

2/21/2018 10:09:32 AM

Tim O'Neill

Hennepin County is Minnesota's largest-employing and most-populated county. As of 2016, Hennepin County's population hit 1,237,604 people. It accounted for 40.7 percent of the Seven-County Twin Cities Metro Area's population and 22.4 percent of Minnesota's population. It has more than twice as many people as the state's second most-populated county, Ramsey County, which had 540,653 people in 2016. Put another way, Hennepin County is more populated than the state's 66 least-populated counties combined.

Hennepin County also happens to be Minnesota's largest-growing county. Between 2006 and 2016, Hennepin County grew by 7.4 percent, adding 85,096 people. For reference, Dakota County came in second for population growth during that time, adding 26,819 people. In just the past year, Hennepin County grew by 1.3 percent, adding 15,901 people (Figure 1). As such, Hennepin County accounted for 28.6 percent of the state's population growth between 2006 and 2016, and 36.6 percent of the state's growth between 2015 and 2016, according to the Minnesota State Demographic Center.

Hennepin County Population and Employment Trends

In terms of employment, Hennepin County is also at the top. Through 2016, the county had 36,721 establishments supplying 901,145 covered jobs, accounting for over half (52.9 percent) of the Twin Cities Metro Area's total employment, and nearly one-third (32.0 percent) of Minnesota's total employment.

Zooming out, Hennepin County makes a big splash at the national level, too.  Analyzing Q1 2017 private employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program, Hennepin County ranks as the nation's 13th largest-employing county, out of nearly 3,200 counties. This places it just behind Clark County, Nevada, the home of Las Vegas, and just ahead of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, part of the Boston-Cambridge-Newton Metropolitan Statistical Area.  

Industry Employment

Health Care and Social Assistance, with over 136,700 jobs, was Hennepin County's largest-employing industry sector in 2016, making up just over 15 percent of the county's total employment. Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services, with over 92,000 jobs, was the county's second largest-employing industry sector. This industry is one of the most concentrated within the county. More specifically, where Hennepin County accounts for 32.0 percent of Minnesota's total employment, it accounts for 57.9 percent of the state's total employment in Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services. Other highly concentrated industry sectors include Management of Companies (56.9 percent of the state's total employment in this industry), Finance and Insurance (49.4 percent of the state's total employment in this industry), and Real Estate, Rental, and Leasing (47.9 percent of the state's total employment in this industry).

When studying in-depth industry subsectors that make Hennepin County unique, it's important to consider both total employment and location quotients. Significant location quotients, typically above 1.2, indicate that an industry is highly concentrated within a local area. Table 1 lists industry subsectors in Hennepin County with the highest location quotients (in this case, comparing their employment in Hennepin County to the state of Minnesota overall).

To make the list more relevant, only subsectors that employ at least 1.0 percent of Hennepin County's total employment are included. As such, Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services makes the top of the list for being Hennepin County's most highly-concentrated industry subsector. This subsector, along with the rest in Table 1, are those industries that truly make Hennepin County unique within the state of Minnesota. Ten subsectors highlighted in Table 1 account for nearly 200,000 jobs, or more than one-fifth of Hennepin County's total employment.

Hennepin County Key Industry Subsectors

For More Information

Contact Tim O'Neill at 651-259-7401.

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