1/16/2015 10:14:43 AM
In January of 2014, the state's unemployment rate was 4.7 percent. With an 18 percent reduction in unemployment insurance claims compared to the year before, Minnesotans were getting back to work. Last year at this time, it seemed like Minnesota had finally put the Great Recession in its rear-view mirror.
But even with the good news going into the New Year, we still couldn't have predicted all of the success we were about to realize collectively in 2014.
DEED's mission was to focus on three pillars key to Minnesota's future economic growth - Talent, Innovation and Trade, and we made tremendous headway. Here is a look back at some of DEED's biggest accomplishments in 2014.
DEED's first pillar is Minnesota's strongest asset and opportunity. In 2014, DEED held strong to our mission of spurring job growth and putting Minnesotans back to work. Minnesota's economy has seen a remarkable burst of jobs added to the labor force, with over 190,000 jobs added in the past four years.
In addition, Minnesota now has the 5th lowest unemployment rate in the country at 3.7 percent. The increase in new jobs plus the recent decline in the unemployment rate is particularly notable given the labor force participation rate held steady since July, confirming the declining unemployment rate is a sign of economic strength.
DEED's workforce development team served nearly 250,000 people in 2014, and our business and community development team recruited 3,540 new and retained jobs and attracted $847.3 million in new capital investment to Minnesota. Together, we supported the state's already highly educated and productive workforce by adding jobs and investing in workforce training.
DEED's second pillar for economic growth - is what drives Minnesota to create better solutions. DEED's newest economic development program called the Minnesota Job Creation Fund received the national "2014 Excellence in Access to Capital" award from the Council of Development Finance Agencies for supporting business expansions and relocations in Minnesota.
This innovative, pay-for performance program launched in January 2014, and has already approved $13.3 million in funding for 26 expanding companies - half of them in Greater Minnesota. In exchange, those companies have committed to creating nearly 1,400 jobs in Minnesota and investing more than $251 million in private funding. For every $1 of public dollars invested through this program, $19 of private investment has been invested.
With 75 percent of the world's buying power occurring outside U.S. borders, we've increased Minnesota's presence in the global marketplace to drive new investment into our state. Last month, DEED announced the highest quarter of exports in the state's history, reaching $5.5 billion - $5 billion of which came from manufactured products. Minnesota manufacturing is growing at more than double the national pace, and manufacturers are expecting continued growth in 2015.
This past year, Minnesota companies made new export and foreign investment connections around the world as a result of our new foreign trade offices established in Seoul, Korea, Dusseldorf, Germany and Sao Paulo, Brazil, that join our existing office in Shanghai, China.
While our state has much to be proud of in 2014, we know there is more work to do. Minnesota's rapidly changing demographics point to a gradual slowdown in the growth of our labor force as baby boomers retire. This is a national dilemma and not specific to Minnesota, but we must focus on aligning our pipeline of workers with the jobs of future, and continuing to drive growth in our three pillars - Talent, Innovation and Trade - as keys to Minnesota's future success.
Read more about DEED's 2014 accomplishments here.