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Industrial Analysis

by Nick Dobbins
April 2017

Monthly analysis is based on seasonally adjusted employment data.
Yearly analysis is based on unadjusted employment data.*


Minnesota added 5,300 jobs (0.2 percent) in March on a seasonally adjusted basis while February’s estimate was revised upward by 2,400. The monthly gain was driven entirely by the private sector, which added 5,300 jobs (0.2 percent). The monthly growth pushed the private sector employment total above 2.5 million for the first time ever. Public sector employment was flat, following two consecutive months of 0.6 percent declines. Annually Minnesota added 48,162 jobs (1.7 percent). March marked the ninth straight month with over-the-year growth exceeding 1 percent, although nationwide growth has exceeded that mark in every month since May of 2011 and showed greater than 2 percent growth through much of 2015. Private sector employment in Minnesota is up by 45,116 (1.9 percent) on the year, while public sector employment is up 3,046 (0.7 percent).

Mining and Logging

The Mining and Logging supersector added 400 jobs (6.1 percent) in March, pushing employment to 7,000 for the first time since June of 2015 as Mining continues to rebound in the Iron Range. Over the year Mining and Logging added 861 jobs (15.1 percent). In spite of the large over-the-year increases, unadjusted employment levels in the supersector remained well below recent highs reached in mid-2015.


Employment in the Construction industry was off by 900 (0.7 percent) in March, giving back some of the 4,600 jobs gained in February. Annually the supersector added 5,567 jobs (5.6 percent). While Construction of Buildings was off by 1,119 jobs (4.7 percent), both Heavy and Civil Engineering Construction (up 653 or 6.3 percent), and Specialty Trade Contractors (up 6,033 or 9.3 percent) added jobs on the year.


Manufacturers in Minnesota added 700 jobs (0.2 percent) in March. For the second consecutive month Durable Goods manufacturers bucked their recent job-shedding trend to lead the growth, adding 700 jobs (0.3 percent). Employment in Non-Durable Goods Manufacturing was flat. Annually Manufacturers added 424 jobs (0.1 percent). While small, this represented the first over-the-year growth in Manufacturing since October. Although Durable Goods manufacturers lost 1,418 jobs (0.7 percent), this actually represented a marked improvement over previous months, as the sector was down as much as 2,950 (1.5 percent) over the year in January.

Trade, Transportation, and Utilities

Trade, Transportation, and Utilities employment was off by 2,500 (0.5 percent) in March in what was likely something of a correction from February’s 5,700 job increase. The bulk of March’s losses came from the Retail Trade sector, which lost 2,500 jobs after gaining 4,100 last month. Annually the supersector added 7,578 jobs (1.5 percent). Retail Trade led the growth both numerically and proportionally as it has for all of 2017, adding 5,649 jobs (2 percent) over the year. Food and Beverage Stores seemed to lead Retail Trade’s growth, adding 2,159 jobs (4.2 percent) with 4.7 percent growth in component Grocery Stores.


Information employment was up by 600 (1.2 percent) in March, bouncing back after four consecutive months with zero or negative growth during which time the supersector lost 1,000 jobs. Annually employment was up by 629 (1.3 percent), the fastest over-the-year growth rate for a single month since June of 2001. The first three months of 2017, all of which showed annual growth, were a welcome change for a supersector that has been bleeding jobs for more than a decade.

Financial Activities

The Financial Activities supersector added 1,100 jobs (0.6 percent) in March, with the entirety of those gains coming in the Finance and Insurance component sector (up 0.8 percent). Employment in the other component sector, Real Estate and Rental and Leasing, was flat for the second straight month. Annually the supersector added 3,962 jobs (2.3 percent). Finance and Insurance, by far the larger of the two component sectors, once again drove the growth, adding 3,817 jobs (2.7 percent). This was the fourth straight month of greater than 2 percent over-the-year growth from Finance and Insurance.

Professional and Business Services

Professional and Business Services added 4,900 jobs (1.3 percent) in March. Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services led the way with 3,500 jobs (2.6 percent). That growth breaks a job-loss streak for the sector which dates back to November. In fact, all three component sectors lost jobs in the first two months of 2017 before rebounding in March. The supersector added 6,582 jobs (1.8 percent) on an over-the-year basis. Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services appeared to be the primary driver, adding 3,560 jobs (2.8 percent), although, as with the monthly estimates, all three sectors added jobs on the year.

Educational and Health Services

Educational and Health Services shed 1,400 jobs (0.3 percent) in March. Educational Services employment was flat, while Health Care and Social Assistance lost 1,400 jobs (0.3 percent). Over the year Educational and Health Services added 17,413 jobs (3.4 percent), making it not only the largest supersector in the state, but one of the fastest-growing as well. Educational Services added 3,697 (5.3 percent), and Health Care and Social Assistance added 13,716 (3.1 percent).

Leisure and Hospitality

Leisure and Hospitality added 2,500 jobs (1 percent) in March, primarily in Accommodation and Food Services (up 2,400, 1.1 percent). The supersector gained back almost all of February’s 2,600 lost jobs, which also came primarily from Accommodation and Food Services. Annually the supersector lost 1,387 jobs (0.6 percent), with Accommodation (down 1,619 or 6.7 percent) notably contributing to the decline.

Other Services

Other Services lost 100 jobs (0.1 percent) in March, after having gained 2,100 jobs over the previous two months. Annually employment is up by 3,487 (3 percent), with all three component sectors growing. Repair and Maintenance was up 4.4 percent, Personal and Laundry Services up 3.6 percent, and Religious, Grantmaking, Civic, and Professional Organizations up 2.3 percent.


Government employment was flat in March, as losses at the Federal and State levels were counterbalanced by a gain of 700 (0.2 percent) in Local Government. Government employers had lost 3,100 jobs over the previous two months. Over the year government added 3,046 jobs (0.7 percent). Local and Federal Government employment continue to grow (up 0.7 and 1.5 percent on the year, respectively), while State Government sheds jobs (down 1.6 percent).

Seasonally Adjusted Nonfarm Employment (in thousands)
Industry March 2017 February 2017 January 2017
Total Nonfarm 2,929.0 2,923.7 2,917.5
Goods-Producing 447.2 447.0 441.1
Mining and Logging 7.0 6.6 6.5
Construction 121.3 122.2 117.6
Manufacturing 318.9 318.2 317.0
Service-Providing 2,481.8 2,476.7 2,476.4
Trade, Transportation, and Utilities 537.8 540.3 534.6
Information 50.7 50.1 50.4
Financial Activities 178.1 177.0 177.3
Professional and Business Services 374.6 369.7 371.9
Educational and Health Services 533.6 535.0 533.5
Leisure and Hospitality 264.5 262.0 264.6
Other Services 117.9 118.0 117.1
Government 424.6 424.6 427.0
Source: Department of Employment and Economic Development, Current Employment Statistics, 2017.

bar graph-Minnesota Employment Growth, March 2016 to March 2017

*Over-the-year data are not seasonally adjusted because of small changes in seasonal adjustment factors from year to year. Also, there is no seasonality in over-the-year changes.

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