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June 2019 - Minnesota Economic Trends

In this issue we take a close-up look at each of the state’s six major regions. The overall story is one of slowing job growth paired with demographic trends – retirements of baby boomers, for one – that can no longer be ignored.

Tight labor market conditions persist, and as the state of the state writers indicate, it will take a multi-faceted approach to addressing the worker shortage. Higher wages, specialized training programs, and policy responses to break down barriers to education and employment for Minnesotans of color and other groups will help. But it may not be enough.

Are there hiring difficulties in Minnesota? Here’s a preview of what’s to come, including the specific occupations we’re focusing on. In the September issue of Trends, we’ll release the complete results and narrative from the Hiring Difficulties Survey (third round).

Download a full pdf of this issue or select the links below to view individual stories.

Letter From the Editor

Welcome to our annual state-of-the-state issue where we offer an overview of the Minnesota economy and home in on each of the state’s six major regions. At the midway point of 2019, we’re seeing slowing job growth paired with obvious demographic trends. Everything points to a likely slowdown.

State of the State 2019

June 2019 marks the 10th anniversary of the current expansion. Four LMI experts sound in on developments that will impact employment conditions in the future: (1) demographic trends that are reducing workforce availability; (2) the downturn that brings this historic expansion to an end; and (3) the speed of adopting artificial intelligence to the world of work.

Hiring Difficulties

LMI Assistant Director Oriane Casale offers an early look at hiring difficulties in skilled manufacturing positions, based on round no. 3 of the Hiring Difficulties Survey.

Filling the Pipeline

Northwest has the second largest regional workforce outside the Twin Cities area, writes Cameron Macht, regional analysis and outreach manager. Employers will need to tap into new pipelines to fill jobs. Even as labor force growth has slowed down, labor force diversity has picked up.

Arrowhead's Aging Population

The Arrowhead region is projected to grow by 1.1 percent with an increase of 1,725 jobs by 2026, according to Erik White, regional analyst. Health care is expected to gain the most jobs, due to the aging population.

Central Minnesota Moves Toward Equilibrium

Lackluster labor force growth is constraining Central Minnesota employers’ ability to expand and add jobs, writes Luke Greiner, regional analyst. Employers can’t afford to leave any stone unturned when it comes to attracting and retaining employees.

Metro Continues to Grow

The Metro Area is the most-populated and largest-employing region in Minnesota – and the gap is growing. Recent population and employment growth outpaced the state’s. Tim O’Neill, regional analyst, says keeping a close eye on population trends, labor force growth, industry statistics and occupational demand is more important than ever.

Roller Coaster Labor Force Growth

The Southwest labor force has experienced many tight turns and steep slopes. Now the job seeker-per-vacancy ratio has dropped: For every 10 openings, only six unemployed people were seeking work. Mark Schultz, regional analyst, reports that some employers are adding hiring incentives to entice potential candidates.

Hold Tight

The job seeker-per-vacancy ratio of 0.4 to 1 is not only the lowest of the state’s six planning regions, it is also the lowest Southeast has experienced since the Job Vacancy Survey began in 2001. New jobs are projected for health care practitioners and technical occupations. Employers will need to work hard on hiring and retaining workers, report Cameron Macht and Mark Schultz.

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