Getting some job traction

Minnesota State Roundup

Published September 1, 2006  | September 2006 issue

Though the Minnesota economy has not managed to replicate the heady 1990s, job indicators suggest the state is finding good footing of late.

At 3.6 percent in June, the unemployment rate is close to its lowest rate in more than five years. In the April-to-June quarter, the state added some 32,000 jobs—its highest quarterly growth since 1984, and a full 10 percent of the nation's job growth during this period. Over the previous year, the state added 47,000 jobs—its best annual performance since the recession. At 2.7 percent annual growth, that's almost twice the national rate.

But not all is quite so rosy. The state's employment rate—the number of employed over the age of 16, divided by the total number of people age 16 and over—has slumped since 2000, when it was almost 71 percent. Since then, total employment has been flat, but population has continued to grow. The employment rate bottomed out below 67 percent in 2005 before rebounding over 67 percent this year. Still, the state's employment rate is considerably higher—about four percentage points—than the national average.

Ronald A. Wirtz