by Nicholas Dobbins
Current unemployment rates suggest that Minnesota is doing relatively well in our recovery from the recent recession. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Minnesota’s unemployment rate as of June 2013 was just 5.2 percent, which compares very favorably to the national rate of 7.6 percent.
But does this tell the whole story? Minnesota may have better-than-average employment, but not all jobs are created equal. Utah, for example, maintains one of the best unemployment rates in the country (4.7 percent as of June) but finished 2012 with the fifth lowest per capita personal income. So how much money are Minnesotans making? Minnesota’s per capita income, which includes not only the wages of those with jobs, but all income for all residents, was $46,227 in 2012, ranking 11th nationwide. Among Midwestern states, only North Dakota had a higher per capita income in 2012 at $51,893, which ranked sixth among all states.
Minnesotans are bringing in better-than-average money, compared to both the country and many of our Midwestern neighbors. Of course, this could still be a product of our higher-than-average employment rate. However, our average weekly wage, which includes only wages from employment, also suggests that the jobs we have are well-paying ones. Minnesota’s average weekly wage was $907 during third quarter 2012, $9 more than the U.S. average weekly wage. Only Illinois had a higher average weekly wage ($945) among Minnesota’s neighboring states. This income data, combined with continued good news on the unemployment front, suggests that not only are Minnesotans finding jobs, we’re finding good jobs.