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Bedrock Industry of Northeastern Minnesota

11/5/2018 4:00:00 PM

Health care and social assistance is the dominant industry in northeastern Minnesota, accounting for nearly 24 percent of all jobs. By comparison, 17 percent of all workers in the state are employed in health care and social assistance, according to a story by Erik White in Trends magazine.

It’s not surprising that northeastern Minnesota has a higher concentration of health care workers than the state as a whole, given its aging population. The region is home to several counties with the oldest populations in the state. Aitkin County has a median age of 53.6, while Cook County has a median age of 51.8, the two highest in Minnesota. Even counties with the lowest median age in the region, Carlton and St. Louis, are well above the state average.

The region’s health care workforce itself is aging and beginning to enter its retirement years. That trend combined with a decline in the area’s overall population in the next 20 years will create a tight labor market for health care professionals.

Young people who are planning careers will find plenty of opportunities and good pay in the field. Average annual wages in the sector in 2017 were $48,100, which was over $5,000 more than the average annual wage across all industries in the region.

Given the size of the health care and social assistance sector in northeastern Minnesota, finding workers to fill open jobs in coming years will be crucial to the region’s economic stability and to meeting the needs of an aging population.

For a closer look at the industry, read Health Care and Social Assistance: Bedrock Industry in an Aging Northeast in Trends magazine.

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