Minnesota's Largest Industries

There are 87 counties in the state of Minnesota, each with their own unique economy. Job seekers can find job opportunities in every county in Minnesota, but specific industries are more strongly concentrated in certain places.


For example, Rochester is well-known for its health care industry, while Roseau is recognized as a manufacturing stronghold. Data from the Labor Market Information Office provide the detail: just under half (44.1%) of total employment in Olmsted County – where Rochester is located – is in the health care and social assistance industry; while more than half (52.5%) of employment in Roseau County is in manufacturing!

But Olmsted is not the only county where health care provides the largest share of employment – nearly half of all Minnesota counties also have more health care jobs than any other industry, ranging from Rock County (27.1%) in the southwest corner of the state to Kittson County (22.8%) in the northwest corner to St. Louis County (26.6%) in northeast Minnesota to Houston County (18.9%) in the southeast, and everywhere in between.


Roseau County is one of 31 counties where manufacturing is the largest employing industry, but easily had the highest concentration of manufacturing jobs. Most of the manufacturing-reliant counties were located in southern Minnesota.


Accommodation and food services was the largest employing industry in seven counties in the state, including Cass, Cook, Lake, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Redwood, and Scott counties, while Pine County had more jobs in arts, entertainment, and recreation. All of these counties are home to casinos, which are often the largest employers in their communities.


Retail trade is the largest employing industry in five Minnesota counties, including three in the Twin Cities metropolitan area: Dakota, Washington, and Wright counties. Aitkin and Hubbard, both smaller lakes area counties, also relied heavily on retail trade for employment. Pennington County in Northwest Minnesota was the only county that had wholesale trade as the largest industry, while Clay County – which is part of the Fargo-Moorhead metropolitan area – was the only county to be led by educational services.


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