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Northeast Region

northwest-minnesota-mapHome to the state's second-largest metro, the Northeast Region has a strong industrial sector, tied largely to the area's abundant natural resources.

Most of the manufacturing base centers on mining and forest products industries. More than half of the sector's employment is in paper and machinery manufacturing.

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New Employment Projections

6/11/2019 6:00:00 PM

Erik White

DEED’s Employment Outlook data tool has been updated with new employment projections for 2016-2026, compiled by both occupation and industry for the state and for the six regional planning areas. This month’s blogpost will focus on industry projections for Northeast Minnesota.

Projections for total employment show that Northeast is forecasted to be one of the slowest growing regions in the state, ahead of only Southwest Minnesota. The state of Minnesota is projected to grow 5.9 percent in total employment by 2026, whereas Northeast is expected to see only 1.1 percent growth. This lagging of the region’s economy is due to a stagnant and aging population and labor force; while other regions of the state – such as the Metro area and Central Minnesota – that have seen population gains in the past 10 years and have more immigration are projected to see more job gains (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Total Employment Projections, 2016-2026

A deeper dive shows a more nuanced picture for Northeast Minnesota’s economic future. The region is expected to expand by a total of 1,725 jobs by 2026, led by considerable increases in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry sector. This sector is projected to add 3,525 jobs by 2026, nearly double the projected total employment gain for all industries. The next fastest growing industry is Professional and Technical Services with an addition of 579 jobs, a 13.3 percent increase from its 2016 employment estimate. Mining, another high-wage industry, is expected to see a projected increase of 434 jobs in the next 10 years as the industry rebounds from recession and other mining projects develop.

In contrast, the industry projected to lose the most employment is the Retail Trade sector with a projected loss of 1,750 jobs, nearly a 10 percent decrease. Wholesale Trade is also expected to suffer a 10 percent decline in employment with the loss of 347 jobs. Manufacturing, a high paying industry with a significant amount of regional jobs, is projected to decline by nearly 750 jobs over the next 10 years. Manufacturing is an industry struggling to replace its aging workforce and to grow (Table 1). 

Table 1. Northeast Minnesota's Industry Employment Projections, 2016-2026

Overall, the region is expected to enjoy modest employment growth through 2026, with Health Care and Social Assistance leading the way in job gains. Half of the 20 main industry sectors are expected to increase employment, whereas the other 10 are projected to decline, providing evidence that the region’s economy will be restrained by underlying demographic trends, namely the baby boomers retiring and slight foreign immigration (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Northeast Minnesota's 2016-2026 Industry Employment Projections

 For More Information

Contact Erik White at 218-302-8413.


Northeast MN

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