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County Snapshots

by Luke Greiner
luke.greiner@state.mn.us
August 2018

Minnesota map showing Renville County

Past

Renville County was named after a somewhat famous pioneer and fur trader, Joseph Renville, who became a leader helping maintain peace between white settlers and the Sioux Indian tribe. Joseph Renville was sent to Canada at the age of 10 to learn the French language and the Catholic religion, after which he returned to Minnesota and established a trade outpost at Lac qui Parle. Today Renville County is known for its agricultural innovation, including seed crop breeding and research.

Future

Like Many counties in the southwestern portion of Minnesota the continual population decline has had some negative effects for the residents of Renville County. With an increasingly tight labor market it might prove difficult to keep or attract new businesses to the county. However, as wages continue to rise it’s possible that a larger share of residents will stay in the county to benefit from lower costs of living and solid wage growth.

Trends

Renville County has been in population decline for the better part of a century at this point, yet employment has been able to grow since plummeting during the last recession. By 2017 employment in Renville County was just 100 jobs less than the pre-recession peak.

Growth in employment has been a bit inconsistent, with an ebb and flow occurring in many of the larger industry sectors like Manufacturing, Retail Trade, Public Administration, and very notably in Construction.

The chart below shows the major industries in Renville county, their number of jobs, and the average wage.

Average annual wages are healthy in particular industries, at more than $50,000 in Financial Activities, Professional and Business Services, and Manufacturing. In the last five years average annual wages have outpaced inflation by 3 percent.

Economy

2017 Estimates

Renville County

Minnesota

Population

14,645

5,576,606

Labor Force

8,527

3,046,697

Average Unemployment

4.7%

3.6%

Median Household Income (2016)

$54,824

$63,217

Cost of Living, Individual

$27,088

$31,656

Cost of Living, Average Family

$45,944

$57,624

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, DEED LAUS, American Community Survey, DEED Cost of Living

 

Industry

Top Employing Industries

2017

2012 - 2017

Number of Firms

Number of Jobs

Average Wage

Change in Jobs

Change in Wages

Total, All Industries

579

5,999

$39,572

469

$3,536

Education and Health Services

52

1,273

$34,424

6

$6,396

Trade, Transportation, and Utilities

153

1,279

$39,156

61

$3,952

Leisure and Hospitality

35

849

$23,868

575

$15,964

Professional and Business Services

38

213

$55,432

-26

$12,740

Source: DEED, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages


Minnesota map showing Rice county

Past

Rice County is named after Henry M. Rice, a fur trader who first came to Minnesota from Vermont in 1839. Henry Rice helped the government work with American Indians to negotiate treaties. He came to what is now Rice County in 1844 with General Sumner and a pack of mules that carried provisions. The county seat is Faribault, also the largest city in the county. The city of Northfield is also noteworthy for the Jesse James Gang bank robbery of 1876, where the final heist of this notorious band of outlaws took place.

Future

Despite a steady population growth trend (18th fastest of 87 counties) since 2000, the county’s population is expected to stagnate and decline less than 1 percent through 2030. This population projection creates a negative labor force projection out to 2030, mainly from the further aging of an already older-than-typical labor force with fewer young workers to replace them. However, Rice County’s proximity to the urban centers of Minneapolis and St. Paul and access to I-35 could help stave off problematic population declines.

Trends

With nearly 66,000 people in 2017, Rice County is now the 14th largest county in the state. As a result, the labor force expanded to nearly 37,000 workers, which was 3,900 more workers in 2017 than in 2002. The tightening labor force combined with an expanding economy to create a decreasing unemployment rate, dropping to just 3.2 percent in 2017.

Despite some job declines in 2008, 2009, and 2010, the county had 1,650 more jobs in 2017 than it did leading into the last recession. The chart below shows the major industries in Rice county, their number of jobs, and the average wage.

Economy

2017 Estimates

Rice County

Minnesota

Population

65,968

5,576,606

Labor Force

36,863

3,063,604

Average Unemployment

3.2%

3.6%

Median Household Income (2016)

$61,683

$63,217

Cost of Living, Individual

$30,493

$31,656

Cost of Living, Average Family

$53,785

$57,624

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, DEED LAUS, American Community Survey, DEED Cost of Living

 

Industry

Top Employing Industries

2017

2012 - 2017

Number of Firms

Number of Jobs

Average Wage

Change in Jobs

Change in Wages

Total, All Industries

1,545

24,831

$44,928

1,975

$5,824

Education and Health Services

233

7,244

$45,708

-18

$3,016

Trade, Transportation, and Utilities

325

4,908

$39,416

561

$4,680

Manufacturing

82

4,569

$61,412

809

$7,384

Leisure and Hospitality

153

2,233

$16,276

-130

$3,796

Source: DEED, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages


Minnesota map showing Rock county

Past

Located in the far southwestern corner of the state, Rock County borders both Iowa and South Dakota. Established in 1857 by the Original Act, the county’s name comes from the vast quantity of rock within its borders. Population peaked at 11,864 people in 1960 and has since leveled off at 9,490 residents.

Future

Like many counties in Southwest Minnesota, Rock is expected to have little or no population growth in the future. By 2040 the projected population is 9,490, the exact same estimate of the population in 2017. Although no net growth is expected, growth within certain age groups should occur, specifically for people 75 years or older and those 25 to 44 year olds. Historically low unemployment rates combined with a projected 3.3 percent labor force decline by 2030 means employers should expect current tight labor market conditions to persist into the foreseeable future.

Trends

Despite declining population over the last decade, the county’s labor force continues to grow, albeit relatively slowly. With an annual unemployment rate just over 2 percent in 2017, the labor market is tight, possibly explaining some of the mostly unchanged employment levels over the past four years. By 2017 the annual average wage reached $38,549. While employment grew by a meager 0.4 percent from 2016 to 2017, the average annual wage grew by 9.5 percent or 7.8 percent after adjusting for inflation. The chart below labeled Rock County Employment shows the major industries in the county, their number of jobs, and the average wage.

Economy

2017 Estimates

Rock County

Minnesota

Population

9,490

5,576,606

Labor Force

5,857

3,063,604

Average Unemployment

2.2%

3.6%

Median Household Income (2016)

$52,835

$63,217

Cost of Living, Individual

$26,381

$31,656

Cost of Living, Average Family

$44,854

$57,624

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, DEED LAUS, American Community Survey, DEED COL


Industry

Top Employing Industries

2017

2012 - 2017

Number of Firms

Number of Jobs

Average Wage

Change in Jobs

Change in Wages

Total, All Industries

296

3,593

$38,532

406

$7,748

Education and Health Services

26

1,108

$36,140

38

$5,408

Trade, Transportation, and Utilities

74

727

$34,684

67

$5,408

Financial Activities

29

401

$68,484

147

$28,704

Manufacturing

14

366

$43,316

50

$3,484

Source: DEED, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages

Minnesota map showing Roseau county

Past

Bordering Canada, Roseau County is the birthplace of snowmobiling. Established in 1894 by Governor Knute Nelson, the area was previously the eastern portion of Kittson County. The tax roll in 1894 listed all of 228 settlers scattered about the area. Almost 40 percent of the county is open access state or county parks, forests, or wildlife areas.

Future

Despite the last few decades of population loss, the most worrisome trend could be the decline in Manufacturing employment. Since half of all jobs in the county are provided by Manufacturers – easily the highest concentration of any county in the state – Roseau County’s economy is highly dependent on conditions in the Manufacturing sector.

Trends

The county’s population has been up and down over the last 70 years, declining to a low of 11,569 people in 1970, then peaking at 16,338 people in 2000, before declining to the current population of 15,327. Similar to population trends of late, the labor force has also been slowly declining since 2003. Interestingly, the last few years have found higher than normal rates of unemployment, despite the county’s enduring the recession and remaining below the statewide average between 2008 and 2013.

The rocky employment levels look to be a contributing factor to the inconsistency. Employment in Roseau County expanded after the recession, yet failed to recover fully to prerecession levels and by 2015 started to show weakness again. From 2014 to 2017 more than 800 jobs disappeared from the county. The chart below labeled Roseau County Employment shows the major industries in the county, their number of jobs, and the average wage.

Economy

2017 Estimates

Roseau County

Minnesota

Population

15,327

5,576,606

Labor Force

8,180

3,063,604

Average Unemployment

5.0%

3.6%

Median Household Income (2016)

$54,827

$63,217

Cost of Living, Individual

$25,571

$31,656

Cost of Living, Average Family

$43,148

$57,624

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, DEED LAUS, American Community Survey, DEED Cost of Living

 

Industry

Top Employing Industries

2017

2012 - 2017

Number of Firms

Number of Jobs

Average Wage

Change in Jobs

Change in Wages

Total, All Industries

455

8,047

$44,824

-331

$4,212

Manufacturing

26

3,964

$55,952

-300

$4,836

Education and Health Services

42

1,382

$38,792

38

$4,680

Trade, Transportation and Utilities

119

987

$28,392

-38

$3,172

Leisure and Hospitality

52

539

$17,940

15

$1,404

Source: DEED, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages

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