by Mohamed Mourssi
During fourth quarter 2012, Minnesota employers reported a total of 58,860 vacancies, up 18 percent from fourth quarter 2011. This is the highest number of vacancies during a fourth quarter since before the Great Recession started.
These 58,864 vacancies translate into a job vacancy rate of 2.3 percent, or 2.3 job openings per 100 jobs. Statewide, there were 2.6 unemployed people for each vacancy. A year earlier, there were 3.2 unemployed people for each vacancy. This over-the-year decrease in the number of unemployed persons per vacancy is driven both by a decrease in the total number of unemployed and a strong increase in the number of job vacancies from one year ago. These data suggest that although the labor market remains challenging for job seekers, it is continuing to come back into alignment after the recession.
Regionally, 34,400 of all job vacancies (or 58.4 percent) are located in the Twin Cities seven-county area, while the remaining 24,460 vacancies are located in Greater Minnesota. Compared to one year ago, the number of job vacancies increased by 21 percent in Greater Minnesota and by 16 percent in the Twin Cities. The ratio of unemployed persons to job vacancies improved in the Twin Cities at 2.4 down from 2.9 a year ago, while Greater Minnesota shows a ratio of 3.0, down from 3.7 during fourth quarter 2011.
Openings by Industry and Occupation
Statewide, one in five job vacancies was in the health care and social assistance industry. Retail trade (14.0 percent), accommodation and food services (11.5 percent), and manufacturing (9.2 percent) together accounted for one in three job openings during fourth quarter 2012.
The top 10 career-focused occupations with the most job openings in Minnesota include:
- Nursing assistants
- Social and human services assistants
- Registered nurses
- Customer service representatives
- Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers
- Teacher assistants
- Licensed practical and licensed vocational nurses
- Software developers, applications
- Computer systems analysts
What Are the Characteristics of Job Vacancies?
Along with the number of vacancies, employers also report on the characteristics of their job vacancies including education and experience requirements, wage and benefit offers, whether the vacancies are temporary or seasonal and part-time or full-time positions. Some key characteristics of the fourth quarter 2012 job vacancies are as follows:
- Thirty-nine percent of job vacancies are for part-time employment, defined as fewer than 35 hours per week.
- Fourteen percent of job vacancies are for temporary or seasonal work.
- Forty-two percent of vacancies require some level of post-secondary education or training beyond a high school diploma. This means the majority of vacancies require no education beyond a high school diploma or equivalent.
- Thirty-four percent of job vacancies require work experience related to the position.
- The median (50th percentile) wage offer for all job vacancies is $13.14 per hour. Wage offers are highly correlated with experience and education requirements.
- Fifty-two 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.
Mohamed Mourssi is a research analyst with the Labor Market Information Office at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.