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June 2016 - Minnesota Economic Trends

As we do in every June edition of Trends, this issue contains a series of articles reviewing Minnesota’s recent labor market performance. These articles make clear that our economy has improved and left the damages of the Great Recession further behind.

But the state faces some challenges as well. With the labor market tightening, Minnesota must build on efforts to attract and retain workers if it wants to remain among the best economic performers in the country.

Download the full pdf file or select the links below to view individual stories.

Letter from the Editor

While this issue of Trends touches on many topics, there’s one recurring theme that is hard to miss: The labor force across Minnesota is tight and getting tighter.

State of the State 2016

Minnesota leads the country in a number of significant indicators, but the state’s labor market faces challenges. One way to address those challenges is removing educational and employment barriers that have kept many Minnesotans out of the workforce.

New Data Source: Driver's Licenses

A new agreement with the Minnesota Department of Public Safety will provide information on the demographic characteristics of our workforce that has not been available before.

New Workers and New Challenges

With an aging workforce, Northwest Minnesota must find new workers in the coming years. Certain industries will be more affected by the aging workforce than others. Manufacturing, education and health care, and transportation and warehousing are industries with the oldest workers

Peaks and Valleys

Since hitting a peak of 170,000 workers in 2009, Northeast Minnesota has experienced a considerable decline in its labor force, falling to just below 164,000 workers in 2015. Northeast is the only region of the state that has fewer workers now than it had at the turn of the century.

Addressing a Tighter Labor Market

The booming Twin Cities economy means the region must find a way to bring more minority groups and people with disabilities into the workforce. Employers across the Twin Cities will need to be creative in retaining current workers and recruiting new ones

Labor Force Growth Slowing in Central MN

Every county in the region saw an increase in the number of employed workers in the past year, while the number of unemployed job seekers declined. Consequently, the region’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.1 percent in 2015, the lowest level since 2001.

Labor Force Surging in Southwest

The 23-county region gained 4,800 workers in 2015, but the labor market remains tight. The region is now home to just over 8,300 unemployed workers, yielding an unemployment rate of 3.7 percent last year.

Growing and Changing

The Southeast Minnesota labor force reached a record high last year, but many employers soon will be challenged to fill openings. Tapping a more diverse group of workers will be part of the solution.

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