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Letter from the Editor

September 2015 - MN Economic Trends

Minnesota's diverse array of industries is frequently cited as one of the strengths of our economy. While jobs in some states are concentrated in relatively few sectors, Minnesota has a healthy mix of jobs in health care, retail, medical technology, manufacturing, agriculture and more.

Cameron Macht reinforces that point with his story in this issue about distinguishing occupations in Minnesota. Interestingly, each region of the state has a unique mix of industries and jobs that sets it apart from other areas of the state.

The Twin Cities, the state's major employment center, has about 80 percent of the state's computer and mathematical, legal, and business and financial occupations. Southeast Minnesota - home of the Mayo Clinic - dominates with health care practitioners, while Central Minnesota has a high concentration of production jobs.

Agriculture is the top industry in Southwest Minnesota, with six of the top 10 occupations there related to the farm economy. Agriculture and food manufacturers are major employers in Northwest Minnesota, while timber-related industries and mining are heavily concentrated in Northeast Minnesota.

Along those same lines, Dave Senf looks at how the occupational mix in metro areas of the state compares with other metro areas of the country. Among his findings, the Rochester area, not so surprisingly, has the highest concentration of health care workers in the country. The medical field accounts for about 16 percent of the area's jobs - nearly triple the U.S. metro average.

In other stories, John Clay offers an overview of DEED's new Career and Education Explorer tool, while Senf contributes a second story about wage and salary growth in the state.

This issue also features stories by two DEED interns, Nick Hine and Edward Mallak. Hine, who is studying economics at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, wrote our cover story about careers in environmental and civil engineering. Mallak, an economics and math major at St. John's University in Collegeville, looks at some of the challenges ex-offenders face in getting back into the workforce. Both have returned to college for their senior years, and we wish them well as they get ready to launch their own careers.

Monte Hanson

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