The latest economic data for Minnesota indicate the state's job market is stuck in neutral. Minnesota's unemployment rate for November came in at 3.9 percent. That's down slightly from October. A separate survey of businesses indicates Minnesota companies are reluctant to start hiring even though many expect sales to pick up.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis is projecting fewer jobs and higher unemployment in Minnesota amid modest regional and national economic growth next year. The outlook for the Fed's ninth district and the U.S. is based on both a statistical analysis and a survey of business leaders in the region. But a top official at the Minneapolis Fed says Minnesota may do better than the forecast.
Experts say the expected bankruptcy of United Airlines will likely put downward pressure on wages at Twin Cities-based Northwest Airlines. Northwest has one of the state's largest payrolls, with nearly 20,000 employees.
Retail sales got off to a strong start over the weekend nationally and in Minnesota. The results from the traditional start of the holiday shopping season trumped projections of lackluster sales. But skeptics say it's too soon to predict consumers will leave their caution in the parking lot.
With the traditional start of the holiday shopping season underway, retailers are girding for a tough year. This list of reasons includes layoffs, little hiring, sluggish economic growth, and the prospect of war in Iraq.
Minnesota's high-paying manufacturing sector created nearly 50,000 jobs during the 1990s, but now most of them are gone. From 1991 to 2000 the number of manufacturing jobs in Minnesota grew 12 percent, and helped fuel a big jump in the state's prosperity. Nationally, manufacturing was virtually stagnant over the same period. But the recession and its aftermath have wiped 80 percent of the jobs Minnesota gained.
Northwest Airlines is closing its Atlanta aircraft maintenance facility to cut costs. The company is transferring the work to the Twin Cities.
It's been a little more than a year since European regulators blocked Honeywell International's proposed merger with General Electric. The buyout's blow up led to CEO Michael Bonsignore's departure, and culminated a difficult period following the company's merger with Allied Signal about three years ago. Now Honeywell officials say they've righted the ship, but the company is still shedding jobs.
The chairman of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission says he's less concerned after a hearing Thursday on the effect of Qwest Communications International's huge debt load on its Minnesota customers. Qwest is the largest provider of local phone service in Minnesota.
The Mall of America turns 10 on Sunday. Despite waves of initial skepticism, the largest mall in America has drawn nearly 390 million visitors through its doors.
Minnesota's a world leader in medical technology, right? After all, the state is home to giants like Medtronic, St. Jude Medical, and a slew of smaller medical device companies. So why does the trade organization Medical Alley think Minnesota's medtech industry needs to raise its visibility? Just ask the investors who flew to Minneapolis this week.
Investors are turning again to medical technology, one of Minnesota's economic strengths. In 1999 and 2000, the share of venture capital dollars going to medical device companies dropped dramatically as money poured into dot-coms. Observers say the renewed enthusiasm for medical devices is good for Minnesota, but the state's lack of critical mass in biotechnology may be a looming threat.
Federated Department Stores said Monday it
has terminated negotiations to sell its Fingerhut subsidiary to an investor group led by Minnesota businessman Peter Lytle.
Golden Valley-based General Mills has laid off about 500 more workers in Minnesota. Slowing sales are also forcing the maker of Cheerios cereals to say profits will fall short of earlier projections. This is the second time the company has disclosed problems since acquiring its Twin Cities neighbor Pillsbury last fall.
The first wave of Fingerhut layoffs is complete. In Minnesota about 2,400 of the catalog retailer's employees are out of work. Another 900 in Tennessee are hitting the street. More layoffs are in the offing. And even as negotiations continue over a possible sale of Fingerhut, optimism about the company's future appears to be fading. .