The Big Story Blog

The Big Story Blog: January 19, 2012 Archive

Thursday 1/19/2012
Breaking down Minnesota's newest jobs data

Posted at 9:02 AM on January 19, 2012 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Hed

Minnesota officials this morning release the jobs and unemployment report for December. November's report showed unemployment falling below 6 percent -- even as state employers cut nearly 14,000 jobs in the month. We'll look today at December data and what it means.

MN jobless rate improves to 5.7% in December

Posted at 9:08 AM on January 19, 2012 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Jobs and unemployment

Minnesota's unemployment rate slipped to 5.7 percent in December, down from 5.9 percent in November, as state employers added 7,900 jobs, officials said this morning.

"The Minnesota unemployment rate continues to move in the right direction, reaching its lowest level since September 2008," DEED Commissioner Mark Phillips said in a prepared statement. "The labor market is recovering at a slow but steady pace."

For all 2011, the Department of Employment and Economic Development says the state added 25,300 jobs for the full year. That's about 2,100 jobs a month. Economists, though, say Minnesota's labor market needs to produce an estimated 2,000 jobs a month to simply keep pace with population growth and new people entering the workforce.

And while Minnesota's jobless rate is significantly lower than the 8.5 percent U.S. jobless rate, data show that U.S. job growth outpaced Minnesota during 2011.

2011 job growth strong in Mankato, elusive in Duluth

Posted at 9:56 AM on January 19, 2012 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Jobs and unemployment

The Mankato area showed the strongest 2011 job growth among the five major metropolitan areas in Minnesota while Duluth and St. Cloud struggled.

Mankato added 1,200 jobs during the year, up 2.3 between December 2010 and December 2011, data released this morning show.

It was a different picture in St. Cloud and Duluth, which ended 2011 with a net loss of jobs for the year.

Here's the chart:
metrojobless.jpg

That was a pretty consistent pattern all year long with Manakto, Rochester and the Twin Cities showing steady job growth and St. Cloud and Duluth struggling for traction.

Still 2014 before state regains pre-recession jobs?

Posted at 10:33 AM on January 19, 2012 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Jobs and unemployment

Minnesota's improved unemployment rate is good news. But the pace of job creation during 2011 reinforces the view of local economists that it will take the state another two years to gain back all the jobs it lost during the Great Recession.

Officials today said Minnesota added 25,300 jobs during 2011. While adding jobs is a positive, the Department of Employment and Economic Development data also showed jobs growing faster nationwide than in Minnesota.

The state's 2011 job growth works out to an average 2,100 jobs per month and that's simply not strong enough. Officials forecast the jobless rate to hang around 6 percent through 2012.

In the state budget forecast released in December, Minnesota officials noted:

The number of jobs Minnesota employers add to their payrolls is forecast to average 2,300 a month in the first half of next year before picking up to over 3,500 a month by early 2013.

Minnesota's labor market needs to produce an estimated 2,000 jobs a month to keep pace with population growth and new people entering the workforce.

This means as perceptions of growing job opportunities continue to improve and previously discouraged workers continue to re-enter the workforce looking for full-employment, it is likely Minnesota's unemployment rate will remain near 6 percent for much of 2012.

Here's the chart from the most recent budget outlook:

jobschart.jpg

Gov't employment in Minnesota lowest in a decade?

Posted at 11:45 AM on January 19, 2012 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Jobs and unemployment

The number of people working for all levels of civilian government in Minnesota is down to levels not seen in more than a decade. We can say that now given the data released today showing Minnesota lost an estimated 6,100 jobs during 2011.

Those numbers match up with long range employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Here's the chart (via the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis) showing that data through November 2011. It includes state, local and federal civilian employees.

govtemploy.jpg

That cliff dive toward the end of the chart comes from the state government shutdown this summer. While the jobs recovered as people were called back to work, the downward trend during the recovery is likely to continue.

Federal jobs make up a relatively small part of the above jobs picture. If you look at just state and local government employment, Minnesota is at its lowest point in decades relative to the overall workforce.

In an essay in December, a Department of Employment and Economic Development analyst looked at decades of state and local government employment and concluded:

While the public sector is the second-largest employer in Minnesota, state and local government employment as a percentage of all jobs here has been shrinking since 1976
.

statelocal.jpg

Analyst: State added high-skill jobs in December

Posted at 12:13 PM on January 19, 2012 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Jobs and unemployment

Here's the latest look at today's Minnesota jobs and employment data from MPR News reporter Brandt Williams:

Minnesota employers added a net total of nearly 8,000 jobs in December and the state's jobless rate fell to five-point-seven percent. However, state labor market analyst Steve Hine says last month's gain wasn't enough to offset three previous months of job losses.

He says the most jobs were added last month in the professional and business services sector.

"Those are a lot of high-skilled, high-tech, high-paying jobs," Hine said. "Computer systems design services, for example. Businesses that contract with others to provide these computer systems support. That's up seven-percent from last year."

Hine says there are a number of signs the economic recovery is gaining momentum, but overall he'd like to see more businesses start hiring.

After five brutal years, bright spots in construction?

Posted at 2:45 PM on January 19, 2012 by Paul Tosto
Filed under: Jobs and unemployment

Minnesota's construction industry gained 200 jobs during 2011, today's latest Minnesota employment data show. That's hopeful news for a sector that's been brutalized the past five years with the collapse in home values, the credit crunch and the Great Recession.

The job count began turning positive toward the end of the construction season and Minnesota is starting to see signs of strength in the "all-important" specialty construction trades, state labor market analyst Steve Hine told reporters today.

Job loss is never good but it's concentrated in heavy and civil engineering construction while the residential building trades are seeing more strength now than at any time in the past five years, Hine said. Housing hasn't turned the corner yet, he added, but the trajectory is better.

Specialty trades are jobs like pouring concrete, plumbing and electrical work. These are points of light in the five-year darkness that is the Minnesota construction industry. Here's a chart showing total construction employment in Minnesota:

construc.jpg

Employment in the industry is down more than 30,000 jobs since the start of the Great Recession in December 2007 -- nearly 50,000 gone since 2005.

As we noted almost exactly one year ago, it's a long way back.

MPR News business editor Bill Catlin contributed to this post.

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.

January 2012
S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31        


Master Archive