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Southeast Region

southeast-minnesota-mapSoutheast Minnesota is a health care and agricultural powerhouse. The region is home to the renowned Mayo Clinic and some of the world's most recognized food companies and brands.

Advanced manufacturing is especially strong here, with machinery, chemicals, and electronics among the top products.

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Openings and Opportunities

9/26/2016 9:47:04 AM

Over the last six years, Southeast Minnesota has seen a marked increase in the number of job vacancies, jumping by almost 5,000 job openings from 3,180 in the second quarter of 2010 to 8,174 in the second quarter of 2016 – a 157 percent increase. With the exception of 2014, there appears to be a seasonal decline in the number of vacancies from the second to the fourth quarter each year. This makes sense as many seasonal jobs – like leisure and hospitality jobs – get eliminated as the weather cools and summer ends (Figure 1).

Vacancy Trends - Southeast Minnesota

Though the general trend has been pointing upward, the most significant change came from the fourth quarter of 2014 to the second quarter of 2015 in which the number of vacancies leaped by 4,519. This was reflected by a concurrent increase in the number of filled jobs. According to DEED’s Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, the second quarter of 2015 saw 3,054 jobs gained from establishment openings and an additional 15,320 jobs gained from expansions; there were only 8,660 job losses from closings and contractions.

While it is great to have so many vacancies in the region, one defining characteristic of the openings is the high percentage that are part-time. As seen in Table 1, the three occupational groups that have the highest number of openings also have high percentages being part-time. In fact, of all the openings, 42 percent (3,395) are part-time, compared to 35 percent statewide. More than likely, these part-time openings do not offer benefits such as health insurance. An additional 14 percent (1,144) of the vacancies are temporary or seasonal (Table 1).

Vacancies by Occupational Group

Another issue: Some of the jobs in the top six occupational groups with the highest numbers of vacancies pay less than the wages needed for the typical family to meet basic cost of living needs, which currently rests at $15.65 per hour. People looking for work at family-sustaining wages may have a hard-time finding these higher paying openings.

The sales and related occupational group has the second largest number of openings in the region, with a median wage offer of $10.89. However, DEED’s Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) data tool shows that the low wages are largely driven by the large numbers of employment for retail salespersons and cashiers, which have median wages of $10.45 and $9.50, respectively.

There are also specific jobs within sales and related which have median wages that are considerably higher, including sales engineers ($38.04), real estate brokers ($34.95), and sales representatives for technical and scientific products in wholesale and manufacturing ($33.85). Additionally, specific jobs in sales and related have very high 90th percentile wages, including insurance sales agents, which top the pay scale with a 90th percentile wage of $87.13. Even some of those jobs with low median wages have much higher 90th percentile wages, such as retail salespersons whose wages jump from a median of $10.45 to a 90th percentile of $21.00, just over a 100 percent increase (Table 2).

Wages for Specific Occupations in Sales and Related Fields

Additionally, the Job Vacancy Survey data (Table 1) also show that education and experience have a significant impact on median wage offers. Of those vacancies with the highest percentages requiring post-secondary education, median wage offers ranged from $23.65 to $32.31; while they range from $19.00 to $32.31 for those with the highest percentages requiring one or more years’ experience.

Southeast Minnesota is ripe with vacancies, but with a wide range of characteristics, education and experience requirements and wage offers. Job seekers need to explore more detail to see which openings fit best. Some vacancies may not be ideal for those looking for work if they are part-time and/or seasonal and do not have high median wage offers. However, these same vacancies may be exactly what some job seekers are seeking for the same reasons, as they may want part-time work to gain work experience (young people just starting out in the work world), supplemental income (those paying off student loans), or a stepping stone to move up into those 90th percentile wage brackets (someone looking to work their way up to management within a company).

For More Information

Contact Mark Schultz.

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