by Cameron Macht

As job growth spread across the state (see “Job Growth Returned for Many Regions, Counties Over the Last Year”), the number of job vacancies also increased in every region over the last year. In fact, four of the six state planning regions saw at least a 50 percent growth in the number of job vacancies reported by businesses from the second quarter of 2010 to the second quarter of 2011. (See Table 1.)

Table 1. Job Vacancies by Region, 2007-2011

Region Q2 2007 Q2 2008 Q2 2009 Q2 2010 Q2 2011 2010-2011 2007-2011
Minnesota 62,569 51,722 31,358 41,397 54,670 +13,273 +32.1% -7,899 -12.6%
Central 6,249 4,987 2,744 3,839 5,828 +1,989 +51.8% -421 -6.7%
Northeast 3,864 3,955 1,518 3,094 4,805 +1,711 +55.3% +941 +24.4%
Northwest 5,776 4,410 5,429 4,657 5,463 +806 +17.3% -313 -5.4%
Southeast 5,233 4,680 2,199 3,180 4,800 +1,620 +50.9% -433 -8.3%
Southwest 4,104 3,232 2,087 2,791 4,260 +1,469 +52.6% +156 +3.8%
Twin Cities 37,340 30,456 17,381 23,836 29,514 +5,678 +23.8% -7,826 -21.0%

Source: DEED Minnesota Job Vacancy Survey (JVS)

That was in stark contrast during the recession, when most regions were seeing steady drops in the number of job vacancies. From 2007 to 2009, most regions lost more than half their job vacancies as employers laid off workers and pulled back on hiring. The only exception was Northwest Minnesota, where job vacancies mostly held steady over the last four years.

Two regions (Northeast and Southwest) also reached their break-even point by having more job vacancies in the second quarter of 2011 than reported in the second quarter of 2007. The other three regions in Greater Minnesota were nearly back to pre-recession levels. Only the seven-county Twin Cities metro area was still well behind the pace it showed in 2007.

Industries in Demand
Health care and social assistance had the most job vacancies (9,800) in four of the six regions in the second quarter of 2011. That was nearly 1,400 more than the year before. Northeast Minnesota had the smallest number of health care job vacancies, while the Twin Cities area was the only region to see a decline over the last year.

Table 2. Industries with the most Job Vacancies, 2011

<tr >NortheastAccommodation & Food ServicesRetail TradeHealth Care & Social Assistance<tr >NorthwestAccommodation & Food ServicesHealth Care & Social AssistanceRetail Trade<tr >SoutheastHealth Care & Social AssistanceAccommodation & Food ServicesManufacturing<tr >SouthwestHealth Care & Social AssistanceManufacturingConstruction<tr >Twin CitiesHealth Care & Social AssistanceRetail TradeManufacturing

Region Most Job Vacancies 2nd Most Job Vacancies 3rd Most Job Vacancies
Minnesota Health Care & Social Assistance Retail Trade Accommodation & Food Services
Central Health Care & Social Assistance Manufacturing Retail Trade

Source: DEED Minnesota Job Vacancy Survey (JVS)

Retail trade had the next highest number of job vacancies in the state, adding more than 2,000 openings from 2010 to 2011. Retail trade had lots of vacancies in all regions except Southwest Minnesota, where it barely cracked the top 10. Instead, Southwest Minnesota enjoyed a jump in the number of job vacancies in manufacturing and construction, two industries that were hit very hard during the recession.

Table 3. Manufacturing Job Vacancies

<tr >Central314912+598+190.4%<tr >Northeast44127+83+188.6%<tr >Northwest423571+148+35.0%<tr >Southeast327627+300+91.7%<tr >Southwest431573+142+32.9%<tr >Twin Cities2,2283,151+923+41.4%

Region Region Q2 2010 Q2 2011 2010-2011 Change
Minnesota 3,767 5,961 +2,194 +58.2%

Source: DEED Minnesota Job Vacancy Survey (JVS)

And Southwest wasn’t the only region seeing an increase in manufacturing job vacancies. In fact, every other region in the state saw a faster increase in manufacturing openings over the last year than Southwest. This growth was led by Central and Northeast Minnesota, both of which nearly tripled the number of manufacturing job vacancies. Southeast Minnesota doubled the number of vacancies, while the Twin Cities saw the biggest numeric gain in manufacturing job vacancies from 2010 to 2011. (See Table 3.)

To find out more detail about industries that are hiring in your area, check out DEED’s Job Vacancy Survey tool online. By selecting your region, you can see the increase in demand spread across different employers through the second quarter of 2011.

If you’re job-hunting, take a look at the thousands of job postings on, the state’s online job bank. There are now more than 48,000 jobs posted across the state, meaning that no matter where you look, you are likely to find some local hiring activity and job growth.

Cameron Macht is a labor market analyst for the Central and Southwest Minnesota regions at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.