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Minnesota Job Outlook for 1st Quarter 2018 to 1st Quarter 2019

by Dave Senf
May 2018

U.S. Economic Outlook

U.S. job growth over the first four months of 2018 has matched the first four months of 2017, averaging 1.6 percent on a year-over-year basis. That rate is on par with last year's annual average 1.5 percent job growth which was down slightly from the 1.7 percent in 2016. Nonfarm payroll numbers have expanded by an average of 1.7 percent since 2011, peaking in 2015 with 2.1 percent growth (see Figure 1). U.S. job growth is expected by most forecasts to inch up to 1.7 or 1.8 percent in 2018 as the U.S. economy is expected to remain solid over the next 12 months.

The current expansion is now the second-longest on record, having passed the 1962-69 expansion in May. If growth continues through July 2019 this expansion will replace the 1991-2001 expansion to become the longest on record. This expansion has been steady but unspectacular with GDP growth subpar compared to past expansion levels. Real GDP growth picked up in 2017 to 2.3 percent from 1.5 percent in 2016 and is expected to climb to 2.7 or 2.8 percent this year with the tailwinds from fiscal stimulus – the tax cut and increased federal spending – and stronger economic growth across most of the world.

The key question is if there is enough slack in the labor market to support an acceleration in GDP growth. GDP growth arises from productivity gains and/or increases in employment. The U.S. unemployment rate dipped to 3.9 percent in April, the lowest level since late 2000. Other indicators are also pointing to a rapidly tightening labor market. A broader measure of unemployment, U6, that includes workers who say they want a job but didn't look for one last month dipped to 7.8 percent in April, its lowest level in 17 years.

And for the first time in the 20-year history of job openings data the number of unemployed workers virtually equaled the total of unfilled jobs in March. At the peak of the recession there were nearly seven unemployed workers for every job opening, now there is one unemployed worker for each job vacancy. Initial claims for unemployment, usually consider a reliable indicator of the layoff rate, are running at levels not seen in 40 years and are another indicator of a labor market that is tightening as employers are less likely to let workers go if they think they will have a hard time hiring new workers.

There are a few signs that the labor market may still have some slack left that will allow economic growth to accelerate this year and boost job growth. Labor force participation rates, which plunged during the recession, have nudged up over the last year but remain well below pre-recession level. There is an ongoing debated on how much of the labor force participation decline since 2008 is caused by retiring baby boomers versus workers remaining out of the labor force for a variety of other reasons. If the tightening labor market can draw some of the sidelined workers back into the labor force, then job growth may be boosted a notch or so.

The subpar real increase in wages during this recovery may explain at least some of why working-age population labor force participation is still 2 percentage points below 2008 levels. A skills gap between what employers want and what sidelined workers have is another reasons offered as to why labor force participation rates have not bounced back more quickly. As the labor market remains strong, wage growth may start to pick up and the skills gap may lessen as employers moderate their skill demands and out-of-the-labor-force workers improve their skills. Both developments would boost labor force numbers and keep national job growth in the 1.7 to 1.8 percent range at least through the next year.

Figure 1. Annual Average Job Growth in Minnesota and U.S., 2011 to 2017

Minnesota Job Outlook

Job growth in Minnesota during the first four months of 2018 has gotten off to a slow start, averaging just 0.7 percent on a year-over-year basis. That is nearly half the rate of the 1.3 percent annual average experienced in both 2016 and 2017 and less than half the national rate. Job growth has been tailing off since the middle of last year as job growth, after averaging 1.6 percent over the first half of last year, slipped to 1.1 during the second half. Minnesota job growth has topped U.S. job growth in 37 of the last 67 years (consistent job numbers are available back to 1950) but in only eight of the last 18 years. Job growth in the state has lagged behind national growth for the last four years. Between 2014 and 2017 employment in Minnesota increased 4.3 percent compared to 5.4 percent nationwide.

Minnesota's lagging job growth is most likely related to labor supply problems rather than labor demand problems. Most labor market measures support the notion that Minnesota's labor market is much tighter than in most states and is limiting job growth in Minnesota relative to the pace of U.S. job growth. The first indicator is Minnesota's low 3.2 unemployment rate compared to the 3.9 U.S. unemployment rate in April.

When the Great Recession started in December 2007, Minnesota's unemployment rate was 4.7 percent while the U.S. rate was 5.0. Minnesota's rate peaked at 8.0 percent in the middle of 2009 and dropped below 4.7 percent in early 2014. The U.S. rate peaked at 10.0 percent in late 2009 and did not drop below 5.0 percent until early 2016. Minnesota's pool of unemployed workers resulting from the recession was smaller and was reduced faster compared to the national unemployment picture. Minnesota's unemployment rate has been 4.0 percent or lower since the middle of 2014 while the U.S. rate just fell below the 4.0 percent mark in April. U.S. employers are just starting to deal with trying to fill job vacancies with unemployment below 4 percent. Minnesota employers have been struggling with the same problem since 2014.

Another measure of unemployment, the U-6 unemployment rate, also points to Minnesota's labor market being tighter than the U.S. market. The U-6 is the broadest measure of unemployed including discouraged workers who have quit looking for a job and part-time workers who want to work full-time. The U-6 rate provides a wider measure of the pool of the individuals that are potentially available to fill job openings. Minnesota's U-6 rate stood at 6.1 percent in April compared to 7.8 nationally. Minnesota's pool of possible hires as indicated by the lower U-6 rate is significantly smaller than nationwide.

Minnesota's low unemployment rate over the last few years isn't, however, unique to Minnesota. The state's 3.2 percent unemployment rate in April was the thirteen lowest state rate. Nearby states with unemployment rates at 3.2 percent or lower have also experienced slow growth so far in 2018. The average over-the-year job growth in those states during the first four months of 2018 were 0.7 percent in Indiana, 0.7 percent in Iowa, 0.5 percent in Nebraska, -1.3 percent in North Dakota, and 0.9 percent in Wisconsin. The pool of unemployed workers willing to take a job in these states has dried up just as in Minnesota.

Minnesota's labor force growth over the last year (from April 2017 to April 2018) has, surprisingly, been higher than U.S. labor force growth, 1.4 percent to 0.8 percent. The state's labor force growth, rather than showing declining unemployed workers, has supported recent job growth and kept the unemployment rate from falling faster. The higher than expected labor force growth has in part been fueled by individuals coming back into the labor force. Both labor force participation and the employment-to-population ratio have climbed in Minnesota over the last year while remaining flat nationwide.

Table 1. Minnesota and U.S. Labor Force Measures
Minnesota U.S. Source
U-3 Unemployment Rate (Seasonally Adjusted April 2018) 3.2 3.9 Local Area Unemployment Statistics
U-6 Unemployment Rate (Seasonally Adjusted April 2018) 6.1 7.4 Local Area Unemployment Statistics
Labor Force Growth (Seasonally Adjusted April 2017 - April 2018) 1.4 0.8 Local Area Unemployment Statistics
Labor Force Participation (Seasonally Adjusted April 2017 - April 2018) 70.2 -70.5 62.9 - 62.8 Local Area Unemployment Statistics
Employment-to-Population Ratio (Seasonally Adjusted April 2017 - April 2018) 67.7 - 68.2 60.2 - 60.3 Local Area Unemployment Statistics
Conference Board's Supply/Demand Ratio (Seasonally Adjusted April 2018) 0.7 1.4 Conference Board Online Help-Wanted Ads

Increasing labor force participation rates and employment-to-population ratios are usually associated with tightening labor markets when all other factors are constant. Minnesota's labor force participation rate and employment-to-population ratio are already significantly above the U.S., suggesting that the state's future labor force growth will be limited as the labor force participation rate and employment-to-population ratio may be rapidly approaching their upper limits in Minnesota.

Another indicator of just how tight Minnesota's labor market has become is the state's Labor Supply/Labor Demand ratio published by the Conference Board, Inc. The Conference Board uses the monthly number of unemployed workers for labor supply and monthly online help-wanted ads for labor demand. Minnesota's ratio in April was the fourth lowest at 0.7. In other words, there are more online help-wanted ads in Minnesota than there are unemployed workers. Only North Dakota, Hawaii, and Colorado had lower ratios. Twelve states had a ratio below one while nationally the ratio was 1.4 in April. Nationally there were still more unemployed workers than online help-wanted ad.

Industry Outlook

Minnesota's expected gain of 25,000 jobs between the 1st quarter of 2018 and the 1st quarter of 2019 will be slightly higher than the 22,700 jobs added over the 1st quarter 2017 to 1st quarter 2018 period. Job growth in percentage terms is predicted to be 0.9 percent over the next 12 months compared to 0.8 percent over the previous 12 months. The health care and social assistance sector is once again expected to add the most jobs. All but four of the 23 sectors will add jobs but jobs growth will be below 1.0 percent in 15 sectors. Slight job decline is anticipated in federal government, Utilities, Information, and Natural Resources and Mining. The expanding sectors will add around 25,500 new positions but job cutbacks in the four sectors expected to experience declining workforces will bring net job growth down to 25,000.

Half of the sectors are expected to add more jobs than last year with Food Services and Drinking Places having the largest positive turnaround from 2017. Other sectors expected to have increased hiring in 2018 relative to 2017 are Management of Companies, Finance and Insurance, and Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services. Forecasts for job growth across 23 Minnesota sectors between the 1st quarter of 2018 and 1st quarter of 2019 are displayed in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Minnesota's Industry Employment Forecast, 1st Quarter 2018 to 1st Quarter 2019

Natural Resources and Mining (excluding Agriculture)

After adding over 600 jobs two years ago, Natural Resources and Mining employment slipped slightly last year. Small job loss is expected again in 2018 as taconite mining is expected to remain flat as world steel demand remains restrained. Several new mines may eventually open in the Iron Range but the anticipated job boost is still a number of years into the future. Employment in this sector has average 6,800 since 2012 but is expected to be remain below that average in 2018.


Construction jobs increased by 4,500 in 2016 and 3,000 in 2017. The downward trend in Construction job growth is expected to continue into 2018 with 2,600 jobs expected to be added this year. This sector continues a slow and uneven recovery from the 2005 – 2006 home-building bust. Construction job gains this year will push Construction employment to the highest level since 2007 but still 5 percent below the peak levels of 2004 – 2006.

Durable Goods Manufacturing

Payroll numbers at Minnesota's Durable Goods Manufacturers slipped two years ago but rose slightly last year. The slight upswing is expected to continue in 2018, but job growth will be around only 0.3 percent. Job loss in the state's Computer and Electronic Product and Transportation Equipment Manufacturing sectors will offset expanded payrolls numbers in other durable manufacturing industries. Minnesota employment growth in this sector is likely to trail U.S. growth for the second year in a row.

Nondurable Goods Manufacturing

Nondurable goods manufacturing employment will expand for the third straight year in 2018, but the gain will be slower than in recent years. Job growth this year will be 0.3 percent down from last year's 1.0 percent growth as Food Manufacturing hiring is expected to cool.

Wholesale Trade

Wholesale trade payrolls climbed by 1.7 percent last year and are expected to continuing to increase this year, jumping 1.3 percent. Just like last year a majority of the hiring is expected to occur at durable goods wholesaler firms.

Retail Trade

Retail trade employment increased by 1,500 jobs last year and is predicted to add an additional 1,400 jobs this year. Employment gains at Building Material and Garden Equipment stores and at Food and Beverage Stores will offset job losses in General Department Stores.


Minnesota's utilities have been gradually reducing their workforces over the last five years, and a slight decrease this year will extend that streak to six straight years. Minnesota utilities are expected to trim employment by 0.4 percent in 2018 after a 0.3 percent decrease last year. Utilities have cut their workforces by an average of 0.9 percent since 2014.

Transportation and Warehousing

After adding 5,700 jobs in 2016, this sector added 1,300 jobs last year. A large share of the job gains two years ago was in Warehousing. About 1,100 jobs are expected to be created in this sector this year with the hiring expected to be spread across the Truck Transportation, Couriers and Messengers, and Warehousing industries. Transportation and Warehousing employment has been strong since 2010, leading to employment in this sector being roughly 14 percent higher now than in 2007 before the recession hit and employment dropped for three consecutive years.


The information sector has been losing jobs since 2002 and will continue to shed jobs in 2018. Job loss this year is anticipated to slip another 300 jobs which is smaller than the 800 cutbacks two years ago. Minnesota Publishing firms have cut payroll numbers by 8,000 since 2002 while Telecommunication employment has shrunk by 4,000 jobs.

Finance and Insurance

Employment in Minnesota's Finance and Insurance sector dropped by 1,000 jobs last year but is expected to add 700 jobs this year. Job growth in the sector has averaged 1.5 percent annually since 2011 but is expected to add jobs at a 0.5 percent clip in 2018. More jobs have been added in the Insurance industry than in the Credit Intermediation and Related Activities industry since 2011 in Minnesota.

Real Estate and Rental and Leasing

Real Estate and Rental and Leasing employment was down slightly last year, slipping 0.4 percent, but is expected to rebound slightly in 2018 with job growth predicted to be 0.6 percent. Job growth in this sector in Minnesota has lagged behind national job growth in four of the last five years.

Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services

Employment in Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services companies was basically flat last year after having grown by 4,200 positions in 2017. Hiring is expected to pick up in 2018 with 1,500 new hires anticipated. Job growth in this sector has been slightly stronger in Minnesota than nationally with employment in Minnesota up 22 percent since 2011 versus 20 percent nationwide.

Management of Companies

This sector is composed of employment at corporate, subsidiary, and regional headquarters offices and holding companies. Employment decline by 0.8 percent (600 jobs) last year but is predicted to increase by 0.7 percent (570 jobs) this year. The sector saw strong job growth over the 2011 – 2014 period but has seen job cutbacks since. This sector's workforce is down about 1.5 percent or 1,200 positions since 2015.

Administration, Support, Waste Management, and Remediation Services

Employment in the Administration and Support sector, which plunged during the Great Recession, has regained all employment lost in 2008 and 2009 and then some and is now 5 percent higher than in 2007. Employment Services employment has declined over the last few years while Services to Buildings Employment has expanded. Last year the sector lost 630 jobs but is expected to add 570 over the next 12 months.

Educational Services

Private Educational Services payrolls have increased every years since 2015 despite payroll reductions at private colleges, universities, and professional schools. Increasing employment at private elementary and secondary schools has fueled a large share of the job growth. Employment was up by 980 last year and is expected to increase by 1,100 this year.

Health Care and Social Assistance

Employment growth in the huge Health Care and Social Assistance sector slowed last year but still added 5,800 jobs in 2017. Job growth in this sector is expected to inch up from 1.2 percent last year to1.4 percent this year, adding roughly 6,600 new positions.

Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation

Employment in Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation, after increasing by an average of 2.5 percent per year between 2011 and 2015, accelerated in 2016 (6.5 percent) and in 2017 (6.0 percent). The pace of job growth is anticipated to wane in 2018 to 2.4 percent, adding about 1,000 jobs.


Accommodation jobs grew by less than 1 percent annually between 2011 and 2016 but jumped to 4.7 percent in 2016 before again falling below 1 percent in 2017. Job growth is predicted to be slightly higher in 2018, increasing to 1.1 percent or about 270 jobs.

Food Services and Drinking Places

Job growth was consistently around or above 2 percent between 2011 and 2016 before slowing to 1.7 percent in 2017. Job growth in the sector turned negative last year, falling 1.6 percent. A slight rebound is expected this year with jobs increasing 0.6 percent in 2018. The 0.6 percent growth translates into 1,200 additional jobs as this sector employed roughly 196,000 in 2017, up from 159,000 in 2000.

All Other Services

After adding 1,400 jobs in 2016, All Other Services jobs dropped by 500 in 2017. Almost all the jobs lost last year are expected to be regained in 2018 with payrolls numbers increasing by 440. Most of the job gain is expected in Personal and Laundry Services and Religious, Grantmaking, Civic, Professional, and Similar Organizations.


Public sector employment, after having increased by 2,000 jobs in 2016, jumped by 7,300 positions in 2017 with half of the expansion occurring in state government and the other half in local government. Public sector job additions in 2018 are expected to be about half as large as last year with most of the 2018 expansion occurring at the local government level.

Occupational Outlook

The 25,000 new jobs forecast between the first quarters of 2018 and 2019 represent the net gain in quarterly average employment. Many more jobs will actually be created, and almost as many jobs will be eliminated. But when all the jobs created are weighed against the jobs destroyed, the state will end up with roughly 25,000 more nonfarm payroll jobs in the first quarter of 2019 compared to a year earlier.

All major occupational groups are predicted to gain jobs over the year, but job growth will be minimal, below 0.5 percent in three occupational groups: office and administrative support, production, and farming, fishing, and forestry occupations. Even though job growth will be slow in office and administrative support occupations, an additional 1,700 jobs are expected to be added in the state's largest occupational group. Construction and personal care and service occupations are expected to grow the fastest over the next 12 months. These two occupational groups will add the most jobs followed by healthcare practitioners and technical and education, training, and library occupations (see Figure 3).

Figure 3. Minnesota's Occupational Employment Forecast, 1st Quarter 2018 to 1st Quarter 2019

Eleven of the 22 occupational groups are expected to add more than 1,000 jobs each the next 12 months (see Figure 3). Fifteen occupational groups are expected to grow faster than the 0.9 percent overall job growth. Building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations and community and social service occupations are predicted to grow relatively fast in 2018.

Approximately 77 percent of Minnesota's 805 occupations are expected to experience employment growth over the next 12 months, but for many occupations the increase will be small. Most of the increasing occupations, 554 of the 681 occupations predicted to increase, will see employment gains of less than 100 jobs. These occupations combined accounted for roughly 40 percent of jobs in 2018 and are predicted to account for almost the same percent of employment growth.

Just over 10 percent of occupations, 102 occupations to be precise, are expected to see little change in employment totals over the next year. These occupations are employed mostly in industries predicted to show little workforce growth in the short-term. Only 85 occupations will shrink over the next 12 months. Job losses in these occupations will add up to roughly 1,460 positions. Team assemblers, executive secretaries and administrative assistants, and electrical and electronic equipment assemblers are expected to lose the most jobs.

The fastest growing occupations will add employees at a rate two or three times faster than the 0.9 percent total employment expansion. Self-enrichment teachers, couriers and messengers, plumbers, pipefitters, personal care aides, and physician assistants are the predicted fastest growing jobs that already have employment of 500 or more in 2018 (see Table 2). The 20 fastest growing occupations combined will account for 3,300 new jobs or roughly 13 percent of forecasted job growth. The bulk of those jobs will be personal care aide positions.

Table 2. Top 20 Fastest Growing Occupations
Estimated 1st Quarter 2018 Employment Forecast 1st Quarter 2019 Employment Forecast Percent Change Forecast Numerical Change
Self-Enrichment Education Teachers 6,554 6,786 3.5 232
Couriers and Messengers 1,054 1,089 3.3 35
Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters 7,932 8,189 3.2 257
Personal Care Aides 70,092 72,182 3.0 2,090
Physician Assistants 2,015 2,074 2.9 59
Construction and Related Workers, All Other 486 500 2.9 14
Structural Iron and Steel Workers 1,365 1,404 2.9 39
Tour Guides and Escorts 667 686 2.8 19
Brickmasons and Blockmasons 1,201 1,235 2.8 34
Roofers 2,018 2,074 2.8 56
Septic Tank Servicers and Sewer Pipe Cleaners 736 756 2.7 20
Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration Mechanics and Installers 2,620 2,691 2.7 71
Crane and Tower Operators 891 915 2.7 24
Insulation Workers, Mechanical 863 886 2.7 23
Cement Masons and Concrete Finishers 4,562 4,683 2.7 121
Statisticians 924 948 2.6 24
Security and Fire Alarm Systems Installers 1,054 1,081 2.6 27
Dental Laboratory Technicians 747 766 2.5 19
Telecommunications Line Installers and Repairers 1,068 1,095 2.5 27
Coaches and Scouts 4,152 4,257 2.5 105

Many of the occupations that are expected to add the most jobs are familiar, having made the top 20 list in past years (see Table 3). These occupations are either concentrated in industries that are expanding faster than the overall job growth like construction or health care or are large sized occupations that add workers even when job growth is moderate. Personal care aides, home health aides, and registered nurses are examples of occupations adding significant levels of new workers as a result of relatively strong health care and social assistance sector employment growth. Stock clerks and order fillers, customer service representatives, and all other business operations specialists are median to large size occupations that can be counted on to add sizable number of jobs even when overall job growth is moderate. Almost 38 percent of employment growth expected between the first quarters of 2018 and 2019 will likely be in one of the 20 occupations listed in Table 3.

Table 3. Top 20 Occupations Adding the Most Jobs
Estimated 1st Quarter 2018 Employment Forecast 1st Quarter 2019 Employment Forecast Percent Change Forecast Numerical Change
1 Personal Care Aides 70,092 72,182 3.0 2,090
2 Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers, Including Fast Food 64,403 65,148 1.2 745
3 Registered Nurses 62,261 62,902 1.0 641
4 Janitors and Cleaners, Except Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners 45,128 45,754 1.4 626
5 Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers 33,637 34,110 1.4 473
6 General and Operations Managers 42,727 43,192 1.1 465
7 Home Health Aides 25,716 26,139 1.6 423
8 Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand 37,569 37,962 1.0 393
9 Teacher Assistants 34,810 35,196 1.1 386
10 Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing, Except Technical and Scientific Products 32,401 32,767 1.1 366
11 Stock Clerks and Order Fillers 33,368 33,713 1.0 345
12 Accountants and Auditors 28,807 29,120 1.1 313
13 Light Truck or Delivery Services Drivers 15,214 15,526 2.1 312
14 Retail Salespersons 81,203 81,489 0.4 286
15 Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education 30,854 31,129 0.9 275
16 Landscaping and Groundskeeping Workers 14,730 14,995 1.8 265
17 Financial Managers 15,281 15,542 1.7 261
18 Customer Service Representatives 57,454 57,714 0.5 260
19 Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters 7,932 8,189 3.2 257
20 Business Operations Specialists, All Other 26,406 26,648 0.9 242

Job openings related to employment growth, while an important component of the job market, account for a fairly small slice of all job openings available to jobseekers, especially as job growth slows and the number of retirements swells. Most job openings are created by employee turnover. A nurse working at a hospital job hops over to a health clinic for better hours. An engineer switches careers becoming a high school math teacher. A 20-something waitress leaves her job at a restaurant for a database administrator job after completing her computer science degree. Or a 60-year old machinist retires from his manufacturing firm after working there for 30 years.

Current Population Survey data, which track occupational changes by workers, can be used to estimate two main sources of job openings. Exit openings occur when a person holding a job leaves that job by exiting the labor force. Such exits arise when workers retire, leave a job to take care of family members, or leave a job to return to school. The other main source of openings is transfer openings which are created when workers switch occupations. Over the next 12 months roughly 178,000 transfer openings are expected, with 134,000 exit openings and the 25,000 openings created by employment growth.

In all, an estimated 339,000 occupational openings will need to be filled over the next 12 months in Minnesota when the three types of job openings above are combined. Only a handful of occupations are expected to have no openings this year. These occupations are small in size with less than 20 positions. All other occupations will have some job openings even if the number of jobs in the occupation are decreasing since openings from exiting and transferring will be occurring.

For example, the number of workers employed as team assemblers is expected to fall to 22,300 during the first quarter of 2019 from 22,500 during the first quarter of 2018. Despite the loss of 200 team assembler position during the year, there will be an estimated 2,600 openings for team assemblers. Exit openings will create 1,000 of the openings while openings from transfers will created another 1,600 openings. Table 4 lists the Top 20 occupations when ranked by total job openings. The occupations expected to have the most total job openings over the next year tend to be occupations that already employ a large number of workers and have high turnover rates. Leading the most job openings list are combined food preparation and serving workers, cashiers, and personal care aides.

Table 4. Top Occupations with Most Total Job Openings
Estimated 1st Quarter 2018 Employment Forecast 1st Quarter 2019 Employment Forecast Percent Change Forecast Numerical Change Forecast Total Job Openings
1 Combined Food Preparation and Serving Workers 64,403 65,148 1.2 745 12,480
2 Cashiers 63,901 64,106 0.3 205 12,079
3 Personal Care Aides 70,092 72,182 3.0 2,090 12,044
4 Retail Salespersons 81,203 81,489 0.4 286 11,892
5 Waiters and Waitresses 48,158 48,381 0.5 223 9,270
6 Customer Service Representatives 57,454 57,714 0.5 260 7,524
7 Office Clerks, General 55,514 55,692 0.3 178 6,620
8 Janitors and Cleaners, Except Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners 45,128 45,754 1.4 626 6,443
9 Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand 37,569 37,962 1.1 393 5,493
10 Stock Clerks and Order Fillers 33,368 33,713 1.0 345 4,565
11 Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers 33,637 34,110 1.4 473 4,037
12 Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks 34,778 34,888 0.3 110 3,941
13 General and Operations Managers 42,727 43,192 1.1 465 3,919
14 Teacher Assistants 34,810 35,196 1.1 386 3,904
15 Registered Nurses 62,261 62,902 1.0 641 3,794
16 Sales Representatives, Wholesale and Manufacturing 32,401 32,767 1.1 366 3,623
17 Cooks, Restaurant 24,488 24,686 0.8 198 3,606
18 Nursing Assistants 31,265 31,249 -0.1 -16 3,463
19 Secretaries and Administrative Assistants 31,278 31,306 0.1 28 3,354
20 Bartenders 19,160 19,341 0.9 181 3,316


The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) produces two sets of employment projections or forecasts. One set, long-term employment projections, looks 10 years into the future and is aimed at young adults planning a career or older workers considering a career change.

Other jobseekers, such as dislocated workers or labor force re-entrants, need information on what the job market will look like next month or nine months down the road. Short-term forecasts strive to fill that need. This report provides a forecast for the state's job market from the 1st quarter of 2018 to the 1st quarter of 2019. Short-term forecasts are updated each quarter to account for recent economic developments. These short-term job forecasts, combined with DEED's Job Vacancy Survey and Occupations in Demand (OID), help jobseekers identify occupations that are currently in demand as well as occupations that will be in demand over the next year.

Short-term forecasts of industry-based employment are based on monthly Current Employment Statistics (CES) employment data from January 1990 through March 2018. CES employment data cover only wage and salary employment or about 92 percent of total jobs in Minnesota. Estimates and forecasts of agricultural jobs, self-employed farmers, self-employed nonagricultural workers, and domestic workers employed by households are not included.

Employment forecasts are carried out for 70 industries, mostly at the 2-digit North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) level, using five alternative statistical methodologies. National and Minnesota leading indicators are incorporated in the models. Projected industrial employment is converted to occupational employment forecasts using occupational staffing data from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey.

Job opening forecasts for occupations are the sum of job openings arising from employment growth, from workers exiting the labor force entirely, and from workers transferring occupations. Job openings from employment growth, the 25,000 jobs forecasted to be added over the next year, will be the smallest source of job openings over the next year, accounting for roughly 7 percent of openings.

Workers retiring or leaving the labor force for other reasons will account for 134,000 job openings or about 40 percent of total openings. Job openings from workers transferring occupations will total 178,000 over the year or 53 percent of all job openings. Job openings related to a worker switching employer but staying in the same occupation are excluded from the 339,000 job openings forecasted to occur over the next 12 months. Exit and transfer job opening estimates are based on national rates of job separation developed the Bureau of Labor Statistics using Current Population Survey (CPS) data.

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