March 9, 2012

At the end of 2011, Minnesota employers reported nearly 50,000 job openings, almost 50 percent more than one year ago. There are approximately 2 job openings for every 100 jobs in Minnesota. While the number of vacancies has increased, labor market conditions remain challenging for job seekers. Statewide, there were 3.2 unemployed people for each vacancy during the fourth quarter of 2011.  


Nearly 1 in every 5 job vacancies in Minnesota was in the Health Care and Social Assistance industry. Retail Trade (19.2 percent), Accommodation and Food Services (9.9 percent), and Manufacturing (9.9 percent) also accounted for large numbers of openings. 



Some key characteristics of the fourth quarter 2011 job vacancies are as follows:

  • Regionally, more than half (59 percent) of all job vacancies were located in the Twin Cities region.
  • Forty-two percent of job vacancies are for part-time employment, or offered fewer than 35 hours per week. 
  • Thirteen percent of job vacancies are for temporary or seasonal work.
  • Forty-three percent of vacancies require some level of post-secondary education or training beyond a high school diploma.
  • Thirty-seven percent of job vacancies require work experience related to the position.
  • Fifty-eight percent of vacancies offer health insurance. Health care benefits are by far less common for part-time job vacancies than for full-time job vacancies.


Using these data, job seekers can get information on the occupations showing hiring demand within their region. The information also helps employment, training, and education providers understand current labor market conditions in their region and tailor services to better meet customer and employer needs. It is also a leading indicator of economic performance.


Which Occupations Are in Demand?
Jobseekers and employers want to know who is hiring and for what fields of work. Job vacancy counts alone are not a complete picture of labor market demand since larger occupations tend to have higher numbers of vacancies. Check out Occupations in Demand (OID), a tool which provides a ranked list of occupations currently in demand, along with links to occupational descriptions, wages, and programs of study.  Lists are available for Minnesota and 13 regions within the state.  


Kate Aitchison ( is a Research Analyst with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.