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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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Southwest Minnesota Continues to Rebound

2/14/2022 9:00:00 AM

Luke Greiner

Through the third quarter of 2021, employers in Southwest Minnesota had regained 5,085 jobs compared to the third quarter of 2020according to recently released data from DEED's Quarterly Census of Employment & Wages program. However, the region still has 7,845 fewer jobs compared to the third quarter of 2019, prior to the pandemic recession. That means Southwest is back to just 95.6% of pre-pandemic employment levels, making it the third slowest recovery of the six planning regions in the state (see Figure 1).

Quarter 3 2021 Employment Levels as a Percent of Quarter 3 2019 Employment Levels

Over the past year, the largest job gains were shown in Manufacturing (+1,555 jobs), Accommodation & Food Services (+954 jobs), Educational Services (+533 jobs), and Retail Trade (+457 jobs), while the biggest decline occurred in Health Care & Social Assistance (-661 jobs). Nine of 20 industries in the region continued to recover jobs over the year, while the other 11 continued to shed jobs from the third quarter of 2020 to the third quarter of 2021, falling even further behind pre-pandemic employment levels.

The fastest growth was seen in Administrative Support & Waste Management Services, which added nearly 360 jobs, a 10.2% increase. The region also experienced rapid recovery in the industries that were hardest hit at the outset of the pandemic – Accommodation & Food Services, Arts, Entertainment & Recreation, and Other Services all jumped more than 7.0% over the past year (see Figure 2).

Southwest Minnesota Industry Employment Trends

Manufacturing was again the largest employing industry in Southwest Minnesota and has seen the strongest recovery, back to 99.3% of its pre-pandemic employment level. Only one industry – Management of Companies – has surpassed its regional employment level from the third quarter of 2019. Other industries that are at 99% or more of their pre-pandemic employment levels include Finance & Insurance (99.5%), Agriculture (99%), and Retail Trade (99%).

In contrast, the industries that are furthest behind their job counts from the third quarter of 2019 include Mining (73.3%), Information (80.1%), Real Estate, Rental & Leasing (91.5%), Administrative Support & Waste Management Services (91.5%), and Health Care & Social Assistance (91.6%). Despite rising demand, the Health Care & Social Assistance industry has struggled to find health care workers to fill its open jobs.

Health Care & Social Assistance was not the only industry trying to hire – with more than 12,100 openings detailed in the 2021 Job Vacancy Survey, Southwest Minnesota reported the third highest number of vacancies on record. This included nearly 2,600 vacancies in Retail Trade, 2,250 openings in Health Care & Social Assistance, 1,650 postings in Accommodation & Food Services, and 1,150 job vacancies in Manufacturing. There are opportunities across all industries for job seekers to get started.

For More Information

Contact Labor Market Analysts Luke Greiner at 320-308-5378 or Mark Schultz.

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