The Big Story Blog

Where's Minnesota employment headed?

Posted at 6:20 AM on October 20, 2011 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Economy, Jobs and unemployment

Minnesota fared better than most states during the recession. But if you're unemployed, it sure hasn't felt like a recovery.

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Really, your outlook on the current economy hinges on whether you kept a job the past few years.

Today we'll dig into Minnesota's employment situation. We'll get a better picture later this morning when state officials release jobless data for September. Jump in during the day with your stories and insights on what you've seen in the job market.

Here are some things we know today.

1.) Not much of a bounce back. Minnesota's August unemployment rate came in at 7.2 percent, much better than the U.S. jobless rate. Still, the state hasn't seen the kind of employment growth that typically follows recession.

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The jobless rate has improved during the recovery but the improvement has ebbed in recent months.

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2.) Businesses feel better but still gun shy on adding jobs. Surveys the past couple months paint a picture of manufacturers and other businesses seeing orders and sales starting to rise but few signs that those employers need or will add more workers.

In August, an ad hoc survey of 330 businesses in the Upper Midwest (85 percent in Minnesota) showed generally upbeat feelings with many expecting profits to rise or stay about the same.

Yet only 21 percent said they expect to add jobs this fall while 10 percent anticipate cuts.

And Creighton University's most recent Minnesota business index survey suggests manufacturers will lay off workers in coming months.


3.) Minnesota's wealth relative to other states is waning. MPR News reporter Annie Baxter recently put the state's economic situation into broad view.

"No matter how you look at the data, we are declining very rapidly or we're in stagnation," said Kyle Uphoff, an analyst at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. "Neither situation is one we like to be seeing."

Click on the play button to listen to the story.

The worries over Minnesota's jobs picture go beyond numbers. MPR News reporter Laura Yuen wrote recently that Twin Cities unemployment divide between black and white people is the nation's widest."

If you don't think that's a problem, think again. Students of color are the fastest growing student populations in Minnesota's schools. These are young people Minnesota will depend on to build the state's future Minnesota's economy and maintain its quality of life.


About Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto

Paul Tosto writes the Big Story Blog for MPR News. He joined the newsroom in 2008 after more than 20 years reporting on education, politics and the economy for news wires and newspapers across the country.

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