by Rachel Vilsack
The road to economic recovery in Minnesota is nearly complete. Total non-farm employment is just 1,000 jobs off of our pre-recessionary job peak, which was in February 2008. Estimates of job vacancies show an 18 percent growth at the end of 2012 compared to one year prior and are also back to pre-recessionary levels. What should we expect of Minnesota’s economy in 2013?
A Look Back at 2012
Job growth in Minnesota occurred in all regions of the state. The Rochester region, in Southeast Minnesota saw the fastest job growth, while the Twin Cities region added the largest number of net jobs in 2012.
2013 Trends (So Far)
While there has long been evidence that the state’s labor markets were building momentum, the past two months have been unexpectedly strong. January and February saw an additional 13,500 and 14,500 jobs added, respectively. In fact, the 28,000 jobs added over the past two months is a record! Nearly all industry sectors added jobs, with professional and business services (up 6,800 jobs), leisure and hospitality (up 3,200 jobs), and education and health services (1,900 jobs) leading the way.
As we look toward spring – and the seasonal hiring that accompanies warmer weather – there is additional reason to be optimistic, according to Steve Hine, the Director of Minnesota’s Labor Market Information Office.
“Housing market conditions as measured by building permits, housing starts, sales levels and prices, and other indicators suggest that the construction trades should fare well in the coming months. Local government budgets are much improved over a couple years ago, so summer jobs at local parks and municipal pools and golf courses should be available to students, and recent strength in consumer spending bodes well for leisure and hospitality and other areas sensitive to a willingness to spend on the part of tourists and vacationers,” he said.
We’ll check back later this year and assess our economic progress!