Positive Trends in Minnesota’s Labor Market

You might not think it to be the case after last month's news of layoffs at Target, but things are actually looking pretty good for job seekers in Minnesota. We reached out to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) for some supporting statistics:

Overall, we have seen positive trends in Minnesota’s labor market lately. Employers added 11,800 jobs in February; bringing the total number of jobs added over the past year to 45,414 – a growth rate of 1.7 percent. The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has held steady at 3.7 percent for the last seven consecutive months. This is well below the national rate, which was 5.5 percent in February. And -Minnesota’s labor force participation rate reached 70.2 percent in February, pushing the labor force over 3 million for the first time on record.

Another positive sign is that eight of the eleven major industry sectors show over the year (OTY) increases in jobs with the professional and business services (+13,374 jobs OTY) and the education and health services (+9,411 jobs OTY) sectors leading the way.  Since the height of the recession in 2009, there has been notable growth within ambulatory health care services, social assistance, specialty trade contractors, management of companies, and computer systems design.

Supporting these recent industry trends, job vacancies in Minnesota reached 88,900 in the fourth quarter of 2014, the highest on record since the second quarter of 2001. Hiring demand was highest within health care and social assistance, followed by accommodation and food services, retail trade, manufacturing, and educational services. Statewide, there were 1.1 unemployed people for each vacancy. At the height of the recession in 2009, there were 8.2 unemployed people for each vacancy.

This tightening labor market means that Minnesota’s jobseekers are finding themselves with more opportunities in their job search, and Minnesota’s employers are finding talent increasingly difficult to find and hold onto. This is potentially good news for displaced workers, like those impacted by the recent Target layoffs. Still, we all know how stressful searching for a job can be. The Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) recently developed a new resourceLocal Look e-newsletters and blogs - to provide timely and valuable information to jobseekers on a regional level.

To sign up for DEED’s monthly updates, visit https://mn.gov/deed/data/locallook/. Thank you to DEED Data Specialist Samantha Shalda for gathering these statistics.