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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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Southeast Minnesota remains a net exporter of labor

2/14/2022 9:00:00 AM

Nearly 200,000 people both live and work in Southeast Minnesota, including about 75% who worked in their county of residence. Olmsted County and Rochester are the major metropolitan statistical area, but the region also has employment centers in Winona County (Winona), Rice County (Faribault and Northfield), Mower County (Austin), Steele County (Owatonna), and Goodhue County (Red Wing).

Despite all these employment centers, Southeast Minnesota is still a net exporter of labor, meaning the number of workers who live in the region who go to other regions to work is larger than the number of workers from other regions who come into Southeast to work.Close proximity to the Twin Cities metro area as well as La Crosse, Wisconsin means that more residents leave the region for work than non-residents enter the region for work. In fact, OnTheMap data from the Census Bureau show that just under 60,800 Southeast residents travel out of the region for their jobs while just over 48,100 non-resident workers commute into the region for work (see Figure 1).

 Southeast Minnesota Inflow, Outflow, and Interior Flow 2019

These inflow and outflow trends have accelerated over time. A decade earlier, the region was still a net exporter of labor, with 52,884 residents leaving the region for work while 38,243 non-resident workers were entering the region, while keeping almost 186,800 residents within the region for their jobs.

As shown in the map above, many people remain in the region for work, with the largest number of resident workers commuting both into and out from Olmsted County, Winona County, and Rice County. However, there are those who both come in from and leave for employment in Wisconsin, including 1,746 people coming into the region and 5,574 workers leaving for jobs in La Crosse County. And, of course, let's not forget those who go to and come from the Twin Cities Metro region for their jobs. The region actually sends out more than twice as many resident workers to the Metro than it sees an inflow of workers coming into the Southeast region from the Metro, with 18,100 coming in and 36,640 commuting out of the region for employment (see Table 1).

Table 1. Southeast Minnesota Top 25 Inflow and Outflow Commuting Locations (2019)

Where Southeast Workers Live (Commute In) Where Southeast Residents Work (Commute Out)
County Count Share County Count Share
Olmsted County, MN 70,447 28.6% Olmsted County, MN 87,441 33.8%
Winona County, MN 19,970 8.1% Winona County, MN 19,842 7.7%
Rice County, MN 17,716 7.2% Rice County, MN 18,034 7.0%
Mower County, MN 16,387 6.7% Hennepin County, MN 16,222 6.3%
Steele County, MN 15,317 6.2% Steele County, MN 15,979 6.2%
Goodhue County, MN 15,315 6.2% Mower County, MN 13,883 5.4%
Freeborn County, MN 11,368 4.6% Goodhue County, MN 13,202 5.1%
Wabasha County, MN 9,305 3.8% Freeborn County, MN 9,287 3.6%
Dodge County, MN 9,235 3.7% Dakota County, MN 8,990 3.5%
Fillmore County, MN 8,554 3.5% Ramsey County, MN 6,147 2.4%
Dakota County, MN 6,216 2.5% Wabasha County, MN 5,733 2.2%
Houston County, MN 4,608 1.9% La Crosse County, WI 5,574 2.2%
Hennepin County, MN 4,422 1.8% Fillmore County, MN 5,480 2.1%
Ramsey County, MN 2,381 1.0% Dodge County, MN 5,362 2.1%
Waseca County, MN 2,086 0.8% Houston County, MN 3,979 1.5%
Pierce County, WI 1,915 0.8% Scott County, MN 2,033 0.8%
La Crosse County, WI 1,746 0.7% Blue Earth County, MN 1,831 0.7%
Buffalo County, WI 1,683 0.7% Washington County, MN 1,439 0.6%
Le Sueur County, MN 1,572 0.6% Anoka County, MN 1,336 0.5%
Anoka County, MN 1,521 0.6% St. Louis County, MN 1,043 0.4%
Blue Earth County, MN 1,474 0.6% Waseca County, MN 1,041 0.4%
Washington County, MN 1,425 0.6% Stearns County, MN 941 0.4%
Scott County, MN 1,313 0.5% Le Sueur County, MN 701 0.3%
Trempealeau County, WI 1,097 0.4% Carver County, MN 473 0.2%
Carver County, MN 822 0.3% Trempealeau County, WI 467 0.2%
All Other Locations 18,439 7.5% All Other Locations 12,546 4.8%
Source: U.S. Census OnTheMap

Given the labor force shortage, businesses in the region might benefit from looking at ways to recruit more people from outside the region, thus increasing the inflow, while attempting to draw back resident workers who leave the region for work, ultimately decreasing the outflow, while also making efforts to retain those resident workers that stay in the region for their jobs.

For More Information

Contact Mark Schultz.

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