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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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Retail Recovery in Southwest Minnesota

7/7/2021 9:00:00 AM

Luke Greiner

As the pandemic spread through the region last spring and summer, Retail Trade was one of the industries hardest hit, losing 1,765 jobs from the first quarter of 2020 to the second quarter, a -9.3% decline. That was worse than the total of all industries, which cut -6.8% of total employment from spring to summer 2020. But since then, Retail Trade has been one of the strongest industries in the region, actually showing a slight increase in jobs over the year from fourth quarter of 2019 to the fourth quarter of 2020.

Between the second quarter and the fourth quarter of 2020, Retail Trade added 2,410 jobs, more than what was lost in the first quarter. Retail Trade was actually up 366 jobs over the year from the fourth quarter of 2019 to the fourth quarter of 2020, a 1.9% increase, compared to a -4.0% year-over-year decline across all industries. Retail Trade was one of only six industries that added jobs from 2019 to 2020, including Finance & Insurance, Agriculture, and Transportation & Warehousing, which all added at least 150 jobs over the year.

The biggest beneficiary of the pandemic recession was Nonstore Retailers, which includes Electronic Shopping and Home Delivery Sales, but General Merchandise Stores and Food & Beverage Stores also fared well as consumers shifted their purchasing habits. Interestingly, Building Material & Supply Stores saw an immediate bounce as people worked on their homes and gardens, making it the only subsector that added jobs from the first to the second quarter of 2020; but then it was the only retail subsector to see a decline in employment from the second to the fourth quarter of 2020, as demand for products outstripped supply and prices climbed. In contrast, several subsectors actually had more jobs in the fourth quarter of 2020 compared to 2019, including Electronics & Appliance Stores and Motor Vehicle & Parts Dealers.

Over the year, the subsectors that have struggled most to fully bounce back include Clothing & Clothing Accessories Stores, Miscellaneous Store Retailers (which includes Florists, Office Supplies, Used Merchandise, and more); Sporting Goods, Hobby, Book & Music Stores; Health & Personal Care Stores, and Furniture & Home Furnishings Stores (see Table 1).

Table 1. Southwest Minnesota Retail Trade Industry Employment Statistics

NAICS Code Industry Qtr. 1 2020 Jobs Qtr. 2 2020 Jobs Qtr. 3 2020 Jobs Qtr. 4 2020 Jobs Change in Jobs Qtr. 1 2020-Qtr. 2 2020 Change in Jobs Qtr. 2 2020-Qtr. 4 2020
44 Retail Trade 18,892 17,127 18,390 19,537 -1,765 -9.3% +2,410 +14.1%
441 Motor Vehicle & Parts Dealers 2,636 2,332 2,518 2,574 -304 -11.5% +242 +10.4%
442 Furniture & Home Furnishing Stores 376 299 341 366 -77 -20.5% +67 +22.4%
443 Electronics & Appliance Stores 355 332 317 340 -23 -6.5% +8 +2.4%
444 Building Material & Supply Stores 1,687 1,790 1,857 1,736 +103 +6.1% -54 -3.0%
445 Food & Beverage Stores 4,396 4,236 4,363 4,470 -160 -3.6% +234 +5.5%
446 Health & Personal Care Stores 922 807 874 890 -115 -12.5% +83 +10.3%
447 Gasoline Stations 2,949 2,722 2,861 2,899 -227 -7.7% +177 +6.5%
448 Clothing & Accessories Stores 666 313 563 608 -353 -53.0% +295 +94.2%
451 Sporting Good, Book & Music Stores 714 443 625 664 -271 -38.0% +221 +49.9%
452 General Merchandise Stores 3,126 2,979 3,130 3,402 -147 -4.7% +423 +14.2%
453 Miscellaneous Store Retailers 580 418 509 529 -162 -27.9% +111 +26.6%
454 Nonstore Retailers 483 453 429 1,057 -30 -6.2% +604 +133%
Source: DEED Quarterly Census of Employment & Wages

The increased job demand was demonstrated in the most recent Job Vacancy Survey as well, where Retail Trade employers posted the second highest number of job openings in the history of the program in the fourth quarter of 2020. This was after a marked decline in retail openings during the second quarter of 2020, showing that employment bounced back quickly (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Southwest Minnesota Retail Trade Job Vacancies

Southwest Minnesota Retail Trade Job Vacancies

Fourth quarter 2020 vacancies included more than 900 openings for retail sales workers such as:

  • Retail Salespersons – 572 vacancies, $13.90 median wage offer, 33% part-time
  • Cashiers – 195 vacancies, $12.41 median wage offer, 68% part-time
  • Parts Salespersons – 154 vacancies, $16.78 median wage offer, 0% part-time

And nearly 600 openings for supervisors of sales workers:

With flexible schedules and increasing wages and a growing number of positions offering healthcare benefits corresponding to shift to more fulltime positions in retail, job seekers looking for a quick return to the job market should explore what retail has to offer.

For More Information

Contact Labor Market Analysts Luke Greiner at 320-308-5378 or Mark Schultz or reach out to your local CareerForce location.

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