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Southwest Region

southwest minnesota mapSouthwest Minnesota is a national leader in agricultural production, and renewable energy.

The region's thriving manufacturing sector includes food processing, machinery, printing, metal products, and computers and electronic products.

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Small Businesses are a Big Deal

8/24/2018 3:00:00 PM

Luke Greiner, Mark Schultz

As described in last month’s blog post, Southwest Minnesota was home to nearly 27,200 nonemployer establishments in 2016. In addition to being a source of employment and personal income, these businesses are a vital part of the larger regional economy, creating opportunities for growth. In many cases, self-employed businesses have expanded and become employer establishments.

Data from the Census Bureau’s County Business Patterns program show that Southwest Minnesota relies heavily on small businesses, with 54 percent of establishments reporting less than 5 employees. Another 33 percent of businesses had between 5 and 19 employees, meaning only 13.1 percent of businesses in the region had 20 employees or more. Just 18 businesses – less than 0.2 percent – in the region had more than 500 employees (Table 1).

Table 1. Employers by Size Class, 2016

While the number of establishments was declining overall, the region was seeing growth in the number of medium-sized businesses – those with between 10 and 99 employees – over the past decade. This is at least partly due to smaller businesses expanding, a great sign of economic growth for the region.

The largest number of the smallest businesses – those with 1 to 4 employees – are found in construction, other services, retail trade, finance and insurance, health care and social assistance, professional and technical services, and transportation and warehousing. In contrast, the largest number of large employers – those with 500 employees or more – were in manufacturing (8 employers) and health care and social assistance (6 employers), while educational services, information, finance and insurance, and accommodation and food services all had one large employer (Figure 1).

Table 1. Number of Establishments with 1 to 4 and 500 to 999 employees, Big Stone, Blue Earth and Brown counties, and 20 more, 2016

More details about business trends in Southwest Minnesota can be found at this interactive data tool on DEED’s website.

For More Information

Contact Luke Greiner at 320-308-5378 or Mark Schultz at 507-205-6068.

Southwest MN

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