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SE Minnesota Spotlight: Supply and Demand

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By Mark Schultz
August 2021

In economics demand is usually defined by the law of supply and demand, which states as one of its tenets that the higher the price of a good or service the lower the demand by consumers will be and vice versa. When used in this way, demand can be linked to goods and services that are sought after, desired, or wanted. When used as a part of labor market information for occupations, occupational demand is a measure of how favorable current conditions are for an occupation relative to other occupations in the same region(s). In this light, occupations that are in high demand are easier to find and pay better during favorable economic conditions compared to those that are in lower demand.

How is Demand Determined?

Before we look at the highest ranked occupations in demand in Southeast Minnesota, it will be helpful to understand just how "demand" is determined – that is to say, what influences whether a job shows low, moderate, or high demand. According to DEED's Occupations in Demand methodology, there are four factors that may impact an occupation's demand rank and indicator including:

  • Job Vacancies: A high number of vacancies will increase an occupation's demand score
  • Number of Existing Jobs: A high number of jobs will increase an occupation's demand score
  • Number of Unemployment Insurance Weeks Claimed: A high number of UI weekly claims will reduce the occupation's demand score
  • Seasonality: A high share of vacancies that are reported as temporary will tend to pull the occupation's demand score down

Now that we know the elements that go into determining an occupation's demand rank, let's look at the top 20 occupations in demand in the Southeast region.

Southeast Minnesota's Top 20 Occupations in Demand

Table 1 shows the top 20 occupations in demand in the region and, as you can see, a variety of occupational categories are represented on this list. For example, one-quarter of this list contains health care related occupations from the Healthcare Practitioners and Technical occupational group while an additional three are from the Transportation and Material Moving group. Other occupational groups that are represented in this list include Healthcare Support, Building and Grounds Cleaning and Maintenance, Sales and Related, Office and Administrative Support, and Construction and Extraction, each of which has two occupations that made the top 20 list. In addition, all of these occupations have a 5-star demand indicator.

It is no real surprise that 25% of the occupations in the top 20 list are health care related, however it is somewhat surprising, with the Southeast region being a powerhouse for manufacturing, that not a single manufacturing occupation made the top 20 list. In fact, the first manufacturing entry is not ranked until 28th with Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers. That is not to say that occupations in Manufacturing are not in demand as many still hold a 5-star demand indicator. Rather, it's simply a matter of there being other occupations in which the labor market landscape is a bit more favorable.   Seven manufacturing occupations, however, appear in the top 100 in demand occupations, and 24 show moderate (3-star) to high (5-star) demand.

Table 1. Southeast Minnesota Top 20 In-Demand Occupations

Soc Code Job Title Current Demand Rank Current Demand Indicator Median Wage
291141 Registered Nurses 1 5* $73,454
311120 Home Health and Personal Care Aides 2 5* $30,258
412031 Retail Salespersons 3 5* $29,983
311131 Nursing Assistants 4 5* $36,726
533032 Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers 5 5* $51,382
292040 Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics 6 5* $40,728
472061 Construction Laborers 7 5* $48,958
292061 Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses 8 5* $50,465
372011 Janitors and Cleaners 9 5* $32,151
436014 Secretaries and Administrative Assistants 10 5* $38,887
537065 Stockers and Order Fillers 11 5* $32,156
291051 Pharmacists 12 5* $151,188
472073 Operating Engineers/Construction Equipment Operators 13 5* $57,852
493023 Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics 14 5* $42,120
452041 Graders and Sorters, Agricultural Products 15 5* $29,897
411011 First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers 16 5* $43,475
291228 Physicians, All Other; and Ophthalmologists 17 5* NA
434171 Receptionists and Information Clerks 18 5* $31,237
537062 Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand 19 5* $35,841
372012 Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners 20 5* $28,472
Source: DEED Occupations in Demand

The average of the median wages for these 20 in-demand occupations rests at $46,591 annually. The individual occupational median wages see a wide array of wages, ranging from a low of $28,472 for Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners to a high of over $151,000 for Pharmacists. On an hourly basis, that equals $13.69 to $72.69 per hour, respectively. While some of these annual wages are relatively high, there are several occupations in which the wages are not commensurate with the wages needed to meet the basic cost of living needs depending on family size.

For example, the total wage needed to meet the basic cost of living needs for the "typical" family in Southeast Minnesota (two parents, one working full-time and one working part-time, with one child) sits at $51,540 annually ($16.52 hourly for each parent). In the top 20 list, 12 of the 20 occupations have median wages that would cover this requirement. By comparison, a single person with no children would need to earn $30,228 annually ($14.53 hourly) to meet these cost of living needs. A larger portion of the jobs in the top 20 list, 16 of the 20 to be exact, pay median wages that are high enough for that single person to meet those needs. However, if that same single person had one child the required annual cost of living wage would be $47,520 ($22.85 hourly) and median wages for only six of the top 20 occupations are high enough.

Employment Projections for Top 20 In-Demand Occupations

Not only are these occupations currently in demand, data from DEED's Employment Outlook show that there will be in demand for many of these occupations in the foreseeable future also. While projection data were not available for every occupation that is in the top 20 in-demand list, the data paint a nice picture of future hiring needs in 14 of the 20 occupations on the list. As seen in Figure 1, two types of hiring demand are projected from 2018 to 2028, including openings from job growth (new jobs) and openings to fill replacement needs (openings from workers exiting the labor force). Most of the occupations for which there was data show that there is expected to be growth (blue bars) with the exception of two occupations – Retail Salespersons and Secretaries and Administrative Assistants –  which are both slated to see existing jobs disappear, meaning they will experience negative growth. The remaining 12 occupations are expected to see positive job growth during this 10-year period. Comparatively, every specific occupation on the list is expected to see hiring demand caused by replacement needs (green bars) as people begin or continue to exit the labor force, with the largest overall number of openings expected for Registered Nurses, Retail Salespersons, and Janitors and Cleaners.

NOTE: Projection data were not available for all occupations

Southeast 2018-2028 Employment Projections for Highest Demand Occupations

Post-secondary education is important and even required to obtain employment in some occupations such as Social Workers, Lawyers, Accountants, and Physicians. For others, education beyond high school isn't as necessary: Construction Laborers, Maintenance and Repair Workers, Welders, and Plumbers. The bottom line is that not all great paying jobs require college, and not all college graduates end up in great paying jobs.

Of those occupations that made the top 20 in-demand list, many require just a high school diploma (or equivalent). In fact, 13 of the 20 occupations on the list require this level of education. However, that does not necessarily mean that that is the only education needed, only the education needed to get started in the occupation. For example, while a high school diploma or equivalent is necessary to obtain employment as a Heavy Truck and Tractor-Trailer Truck Driver, there are additional steps and training that need to be completed in order to become licensed as a truck driver. Of those seven remaining occupations that require post-secondary education, four require a post-secondary non-degree award, including Nursing Assistants, EMT's and Paramedics, LPN's, and Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, while only one requires an Associate's degree, that being Registered Nurses. There are also two occupations on this in-demand list that require graduate degrees, including Pharmacists and All Other Physicians (see Table 2).

Table 2. Southeast Minnesota Educational Requirements for Top 20 In-Demand Education

SOC Code Occupation Education Requirements Training Requirements
291141 Registered Nurses Associate's degree Short term on the job training
311120 Home Health and Personal Care Aides High school diploma or equivalent Unavailable
412031 Retail Salespersons High school diploma or equivalent Short term on the job training
311131 Nursing Assistants Postsecondary non-degree award Short term on the job training
533032 Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers High school diploma or equivalent Short term on the job training
292040 Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics Postsecondary non-degree award Unavailable
472061 Construction Laborers High school diploma or equivalent Short term on the job training
292061 Licensed Practical and Licensed Vocational Nurses Postsecondary non-degree award Short term on the job training
372011 Janitors and Cleaners High school diploma or equivalent Short term on the job training
436014 Secretaries and Administrative Assistants High school diploma or equivalent Short term on the job training
537065 Stockers and Order Fillers High school diploma or equivalent Unavailable
291051 Pharmacists Graduate or professional degree Short term on the job training
472073 Operating Engineers/Construction Equipment Operators High school diploma or equivalent Short term on the job training
493023 Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics Postsecondary non-degree award Unavailable
452041 Graders and Sorters, Agricultural Products High school diploma or equivalent Short term on the job training
411011 First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers High school diploma or equivalent Short term on the job training
291228 Physicians, All Other; and Ophthalmologists Graduate or professional degree Unavailable
434171 Receptionists and Information Clerks High school diploma or equivalent Short term on the job training
537062 Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand High school diploma or equivalent Short term on the job training
372012 Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners High school diploma or equivalent Short term on the job training
Source: DEED Occupations in Demand

While education beyond high school may not be required to get started in many of these occupations, the data show that on-the-job training is necessary for most of these occupation in demand. Also shown in Table 2, three-quarters of the occupations on the list require short-term on the job training, while no training requirement data were available for the remaining five occupations.

Southeast Minnesota occupations in demand can also be sorted by educational attainment. Shown in Table 3 below are the top 10 occupations in demand by educational requirements. It is no surprise, given how dominant healthcare is in the region, that health care occupations see the most numerous entries on this list. In addition, there are in demand healthcare related occupations for almost every educational category, including Home Health and Personal Care Aides (high school diploma or equivalent), Nursing Assistants (post-secondary non-degree award), Registered Nurses (associate's degree), and Pediatricians (graduate or professional degree). The only educational category that does not have a health care related occupation in the top 10 in demand occupations is a bachelor's degree.

Table 3. Southeast Minnesota Top 10 Occupations in Demand and Median Wages by Educational Attainment

High School Diploma or Equiv. Post-Secondary Non-Degree Award Associates Degree Bachelors Degree Graduate or Professional  Degree
Home Health & Personal Care Aides
$30,258
Nursing Assistants
$36,726
Registered Nurse
$73,454
Substitute Teachers
$40,566
Pharmacists
$151,188
Retail Salespersons
$29,983
EMT's & Paramedics
$40,728
Veterinary Techs
$37,632
Market Research Analysts & Marketing Specialists
$54,672
Physicians - All Other and Ophthalmologists
$NA
Heavy & Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers
$51,382
Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurses
$50,465
Surgical Techs
$61,421
Software Developers & Software Quality Assurance Analysts & Testers
$103,725
Nurse Practitioners
$120,693
Construction Laborers
$48,958
Automotive Service Technicians & Mechanic
$42,120
Computer Network Support Specialist
$59,898

Rehabilitation Counselors
$43,970

Clinical, Counseling & School Psychologists
$80,954
Janitors & Cleaners
$32,151
Hairdressers, Hairstylists and Cosmetologists
$27,425
Civil Engineering Techs
$68,607
Special Education Teachers - Secondary School
$62,539
Pediatricians - General
$186,566
Secretaries & Administrative Assistants
$38,887
Medical Assistants
$43,492
Web Developers & Digital Interface Designers
$60,180
Special Education Teachers - Preschool
$59,665
Education Administrators - Kindergarten through Secondary
$101,957
Stockers & Order Fillers
$32,156
Farm Equip. Mechanics & Service Technicians
$50,459
Agricultural and Food Science Techs
$42,723
Labor Relations Specialists
$57,915
General Internal Medicine Physicians
$NA
Operating Engineers & Other Construction Equip. Operators
$57,852
Electricians
$67,763
Calibration & Engineering Techs
$50,948
Adult Basic Ed., Adult Secondary Ed., & ESL Instructors
$58,014
Nurse Anesthetists
$213,767
Graders & Sorters - Agricultural Products
$29,897
Health Information Technologists
$86,095
Medical Equipment Repairers
$63,112
Probation Officers & Correctional Treatment Specialists
$74,615
Psychiatrists
$NA
Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers
$43,475
Outdoor Power Equip. & Other Small Engine Mechanics
$36,189
Electro-Mechanical & Mechatronics Techs
$58,179
Supervisors of Police & Detectives
$93,803
Acupuncturists & Health Diagnosing/Treating Practitioners - All Other
$91,492
Source: DEED Occupations in Demand

Some argue that earning higher educational credentials always leads to higher-paying jobs. However, this is not always the case as evidenced by some of the entries in the table above. For example, Operating Engineers and Other Construction Equipment Operators earn a median wage of $57,852 and this job only requires a high school diploma to get started. Comparatively, Medical Assistants, which requires a post-secondary non-degree award, earn less with a median wage of $43,492 while Veterinary Technicians, which requires an associate's degree, also earn less with a median wage of $37,632 and Rehabilitation Counselors, which requires a bachelor's degree, earn a median wage of $43,970. But in general, there are plenty of occupations that are both in demand and that pay well in the region, regardless of the level of educational attainment needed.

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