by Dave Senf

Job growth will be modest in 2012 as businesses across the nation and state continue their slow recovery from the Great Recession. Despite the frustration some job seekers have faced, 2011 actually marked the strongest job market Minnesota has seen in more than five years:

  • Minnesota employers added nearly 38,000 jobs between the third quarters of 2010 and 2011.
  • The unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 percent in November 2011.

While Minnesota’s job rebound will continue over the next 12 months, the pace will slow with an increase of 22,500 new jobs (or 0.8 percent), between the third quarters of 2011 and 2012. However, the state’s job growth is expected to continue to outpace national growth.

Growing Industries

Most industries are expected to add workers, but job growth in more than half will be very modest. The strongest employment growth will be found in:

A bright note is the construction industry. Employment is expected to finally increase for the first time in six years. Local government employment is also expected to jump despite budget problems. This is due to modest increases in public school enrollment, reflecting a peak in Minnesota births in 2006 and 2007. In manufacturing, the fabricated metal product and machinery workforces will expand as well.

The table below lists the industry sectors expected to have the largest number of new jobs.

Industries with the Most Projected New Jobs, Third Quarter 2011 to Third Quarter 2012 Percent Change Total New Jobs
Food Services & Drinking Places 1.6% 3,076
Ambulatory Health Care Services 2.1% 2,869
Machinery Manufacturing 7.0% 2,166
Merchant Wholesalers, Nondurable Goods 2.5% 1,186
Nursing & Residential Care Facilities 1.1% 1,177
Social Assistance 1.5% 1,147
Construction of Buildings 3.8% 900
Specialty Trade Contractors 1.3% 778
Hospitals 0.7% 697
Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing 1.5% 603
Merchant Wholesalers, Durable Goods 0.8% 530
Credit Intermediation & Related Activity 0.9% 520
Insurance Carriers & Related Activities 0.6% 392
Personal & Laundry Services 1.2% 344
Wood Product Manufacturing 2.9% 329
Computer & Electronic Product Manufacturing 0.6% 313
General Merchandise Stores 0.4% 279
Membership Organizations & Associations 0.3% 216
Accommodation 0.6% 212
Miscellaneous Manufacturing 0.7% 172
Medical Equipment & Supplies Manufacturing 0.7% 122
Food & Beverage Stores 0.2% 106
Truck Transportation 0.3% 75
Real Estate 0.2% 74
Amusement, Gambling & Recreation Industries 0.2% 59


Shrinking Industries

Unfortunately, not all industries are projected to expand. Small job reductions will occur in the retail trade and information sectors as well as at the federal government level as the U.S. Postal Service trims its workforce. And, even though some sectors of the manufacturing industry are growing, others such as transportation equipment and furniture manufacturing will decline.

Interested in a list of Minnesota’s fastest growing jobs in 2012? Stay tuned for an upcoming post on Minnesota’s occupational job outlook .

Dave Senf ( is a labor market analyst at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.