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How Did You Like Us in 2014?

by John Clay and Oriane Casale
March 2015

The mission of the Labor Market Information (LMI) Office of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is to collect, compile, and deliver high quality data and analysis about the state's economy. Our work supports Minnesota's businesses, its workforce and economic development system, and the workers of today and tomorrow. We gather, analyze, and disseminate economic data on Minnesota's business community, workforce, and job market. We also provide key economic indicators, employment projections, and regional and statewide industry and workforce analysis along with information aimed at helping individuals make informed career decisions. We believe that access to high quality, up-to-date labor market information has been instrumental in making Minnesota one of the strongest job markets in America and that it will continue to play an important role in our economic future.

To improve our information and services, we regularly summarize related information including customer type, information requested, and satisfaction level. We share this information with you in the hopes that it may be as helpful for you to see how others are using our data as it is for us in guiding how we can best supply the data.

The information contained in the summary comes from several sources:

  • Records of incoming telephone and email requests
  • Web statistics from our Google Analytics web tracking tool
  • Information from our mailing and email subscription lists
  • DEED's customer satisfaction survey

Information from our 2013 summary is included in this article as well as updates on projects we have undertaken and services we have improved during the past year.

LMI Information Delivery Methods

The LMI Office offers a number of delivery methods for the data and information we provide. These methods include, but are not limited to:

  • LMI Website: The majority of our customers access information directly from our website at mn.gov/deed/data. We keep our website as up-to-date and complete as possible, so customers know that they are getting the most current labor market information available for Minnesota. Almost all of the releasable data and information that we produce are made available on our website. Web use statistics are provided below in the tables.
  • Analyst Services: Our telephone and email Helpline service assists customers in finding and understanding LMI data and information by providing direct access to our analysts. Analysts, including our team of five Regional Analysts, also provide presentations and training sessions, many geared toward workforce and economic development professionals, to a wide range of audiences. Consultation services and data extraction and analysis are also available on a fee-for-service basis. The Helpline can be reached by telephone during normal business hours at 888-234-1114 or 651-259-7384 or by email at deed.lmi@state.mn.us.
  • Electronic Notifications: Customers who want to know when publications and data are updated can subscribe for email updates in the footer of the DEED website http://mn.gov/deed/ where it says 'Connect with DEED'. These updates provide notification to subscribers when LMI data and publications are available.
  • Direct Mailing List: This list is for customers who want to receive one or more copies of Minnesota Economic Trends or Minnesota Employment Review in the mail.

Table 1 provides a snapshot of customer contacts we made over the past year. The majority of LMI customers accessed information from our website, but a significant minority received LMI services through other means.


Table 1

LMI Customers by Information Delivery Method, 2014

Type of Contact

Contacts

Number of Customers

Website

433,601
page views

298,536
unique page views

Telephone, email, mail requests

2,091
contacts

2,091
contacts

Presentations and trainings

211
presentations/trainings

7,753
audience members

E-Mail notification list

168,000
notifications sent by e-mail

6,000+
subscribers

Trends print magazine

5,084
magazines sent by USPS mail

1,271
subscribers

Source: DEED LMI Office, various sources


Accomplishments in 2014

During 2014 we made important enhancements to content and navigation on the LMI pages of the DEED website. From new data tools to newly designed webpages and menus, our enhancements were guided by the needs of our users.

In June LMI conducted intensive user research through focus groups and one-on-one interviews. We talked with more than 30 users in both the Twin Cities Metro and Greater Minnesota representing four categories: job seekers and career explorers, employment counseling professionals, business service professionals, and economic development professionals. Users told us they want information to be easy to find and easy to understand. They want detail without overload, and they want a range of information. But they also want to be able to zero in on a specific information need.

Interviews with job seekers helped us learn the obvious: Job seekers want to apply for jobs. They also may want to know typical wages and demand or related careers and educational options. But at any moment in the general information search they want to be able to shift to an actual job search.

These insights and many more collected during our user research and meetings with public and private stakeholders helped us make important improvements in 2014 as we reshaped existing products and launched new ones. We launched two new data tools, the Graduate Employment Outcomes tool and the Cost of Living tool, as well as a new Current Economic Highlights feature called Alternative Measures of Unemployment.

The Graduate Employment Outcomes online tool, launched June 2014, shows how many Minnesota graduates are finding Minnesota jobs, at what wages, and in which industries. The user can select by year, location, award type, institution type, and instructional program. The tool is updated with a new cohort of graduates each year. The tool is designed to serve prospective students, career explorers, career counselors, education program planners, and policy makers. The data are based on Minnesota Office of Higher Education postsecondary graduation records and wage records from all employers subject to Unemployment Insurance taxes in Minnesota. With 8,207 unique pageviews after six months online, Graduate Employment Outcomes is on track to become one of LMI's top five most-viewed data tools.1

The Cost of Living online tool was launched in August 2014. The tool provides a yearly estimate of a basic-needs cost of living in Minnesota for individuals and families by county, region, and total state. The tool uses federal and state data to examine monthly living costs in seven categories: food, housing, health care, transportation, child care, other necessities, and net taxes. The tool is designed to serve job seekers, working people, employers, economic planners, and policy makers.

The Alternative Measures of Unemployment feature was launched in April 2014 as a new page within LMI's Current Economic Highlights on our website. The Alternative Measures feature provides a monthly snapshot of ten-year trends in Minnesota unemployment by race, age, gender, and U-3 through U-6 unemployment rates.2 Drawn from the Current Population Survey and presented as 12-month moving averages, these data reveal under-served populations and untapped potential within the labor force. With 1,629 unique pageviews after three quarters online, Alternative Measures is on track to become the fourth most-viewed of the eight pages in LMI's Current Economic Highlights.

LMI is looking toward the spring 2015 launch of another new online tool. The Career and Education Explorer Tool will be an all-in-one occupational information tool for job seekers and career explorers. The tool will allow users to select by occupation and geographic region and will display results on five easy-to-navigate pages. An Overview page will provide a snapshot of the occupation, while four more pages - Wages, Demand, Education, and On the Job - give users detailed results. All pages will be easily accessed using navigation links at the top and bottom of every page. The user can also select a new occupation or start a whole new search using a search box and hyperlink featured on every page. Every page will also feature a link to actual job openings listed at MinnesotaWorks.net. The programming of the tool is already underway.

One small but important enhancement to DEED's website in autumn 2014 was the launch of Job Outlook, a portal page which links job seekers to key LMI data tools. Job Outlook is a top-level offering in the Job Seeker section of the DEED website. It replaces an older portal page which was hard to find and hard to use. During the final quarter of 2014 the new Job Outlook page attracted 3,187 unique pageviews, almost five times as many as the old page, bringing more job seekers and career explorers to the LMI data tools that serve them best.

We also redesigned the Data Tools page which provides descriptions and links to LMI's suite of data tools, organizing the entries by subject category while still offering an alphabetical listing of tools in the navigation menu. We also redesigned all of the data tool landing pages to simplify navigation, clarify descriptive text, and to provide, where possible, an immediate graphic 'snapshot' of the data.

Bucking the conventional wisdom that 'people are afraid of data', our data tools are our most popular resource. Of 298,536 unique pageviews on the LMI website, our data tools accounted for 66 percent of the total.

Current Economic Highlights , Minnesota Economic Trends, and Minnesota Employment Review were the next three LMI web properties with the most unique pageviews after the data tools. Current Economic Highlights offers summary analysis of key data including wages, employment, unemployment, and unemployment insurance claims. Economic Trends and Employment Review are LMI's periodical publications available online and in print.

Our most popular data tool is the Occupational Employment Statistics or OES tool, which shows employment and wages by occupation and region in Minnesota. This information can help employers benchmark wages and can help job seekers and students explore careers.

The next most viewed tool was Employment Outlook, our employment projections tool, followed by Local Area Unemployment Statistics.


Table 2

LMI Web Traffic, 2014

LMI Web Property

Pageviews

Unique Pageviews

Data Tools

298,611

195,715

Current Economic Highlights

32,859

24,558

Trends

12,905

10,079

Review

9,250

6,724

Talk to Our Experts

8,222

6,570

LMI Jobseekers Portal

6,642

5,196

Source: Google Analytics



Table 3

LMI Data Tools Web Traffic, 2014

LMI Data Tool

Pageviews

Unique Pageviews

Occupational Employment Statistics

62,153

38,699

Employment Outlook (Projections)

33,420

23,383

Local Area Unemployment Statistics

29,794

18,459

Occupations in Demand

25,549

17,142

Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages

24,025

13,005

Match Jobs to Experience

17,688

12,192

Graduate Employment Outcomes
(Launched June 2014)

13,965

8,207

Cost of Living (Launched August 2014)

2,153

1,574

Source: Google Analytics


LMI Customer Satisfaction

Each year we examine information on LMI customer satisfaction from the DEED-wide Customer Satisfaction Survey. The results are for the period from October 2013 to September 2014. They represent two user groups: employers who posted job orders and employers who were visited by DEED business service representatives.

The customer satisfaction results show a high level of satisfaction: 98 percent were satisfied that the information was presented in a clear and understandable manner, 94 percent were satisfied with the time it took to respond, and 92 percent were satisfied that the LMI product was useful to them. On the lower end, only about 78 percent thought it was easy to find the labor market information that they were looking for. These findings do not yet represent the changes that we have made to the website pages and navigation because they reflect the period just before the changes were implemented. However, they provide a good baseline for comparison next year.

The LMI Regional Analysts now also have customer satisfaction results specific to their team. Those results show a very high level of satisfaction: 96 percent of RA customers feel that Regional Analysts understood what they were asking for, 98 percent were satisfied that the information was presented in a clear and understandable manner, 98 percent were satisfied with the time it took to respond, and 98 percent were satisfied that the LMI product was useful to them. Moreover, the MnCSI average score for the RA team was 87.1, quite a bit higher than for the LMI Office as a whole. In addition, 99 percent of respondents said they would recommend our services to a colleague.

Overall, these results show that while LMI customers are able to obtain much of the information they need from our website, contact with our Regional Analysts improves their experience. That is likely because the RAs are able to help them find and understand geo-specific information most useful to them and do it one on one.

We always welcome comments and feedback on our products and services. You can email us at DEED.lmi@state.mn.us or telephone us at our helpline: 651-259-7384.


1 A 'pageview' is counted every time a page is viewed or loaded. So if a user refreshes the page during a session, a second pageview is counted. A 'unique pageview' is counted once regardless of how many times the user loads the page during a session or visit on the website.

2 For an explanation of the various unemployment rates, refer to the article by Amanda Rohrer in the October 2012 issue of Minnesota Employment Review entitled Part-Time for Economic Reasons.

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