3/21/2016 9:54:04 AM
With employers again reporting just over 7,000 job vacancies in the fourth quarter of 2015, Southwest Minnesota remains in the midst of the strongest and longest period of sustained demand since the turn of the century. With just over 7,000 unemployed workers in the region, the ratio of job seekers to job vacancies hit 1-to-1 for the second straight year (Figure 1).
That represents a significant tightening of the labor market since the bottom of the recession in 2009, when there were about seven unemployed job seekers for every job opening; and even in comparison to just two years ago, when there were still about two job seekers per vacancy.
Hiring demand was highest in the Health Care and Social Assistance and Manufacturing industries, which combined for about 37 percent of the regional vacancies in 2015. The Retail Trade and Accommodation and Food Services industries also accounted for another 26 percent of the job postings in 2015, meaning those four industries offer three of every five job openings in the region.
While Health Care and Social Assistance, Manufacturing, and Retail Trade all saw an increase in the number of vacancies in the past year, the number of postings went down in Accommodation and Food Services. The Construction industry saw the biggest jump in the number of job vacancies, more than tripling from 2014 to 2015, while Wholesale Trade and Finance and Insurance also saw big gains in the past year.
In contrast, the biggest declines occurred in Other Services and Administrative Support and Waste Management Services, which includes temporary staffing agencies. Transportation and Warehousing and Agriculture, two industries that are much more strongly concentrated in Southwest Minnesota than other parts of the state, also saw a decline in hiring demand in the past year.