What are the forces moving the Minnesota economy? Adam Belz tries to identify the trends and show the connections between Minnesota and the larger U.S. and global economies. You can connect with him on Twitter: @adambelz

Poverty by county in Minnesota, 2013

Posted by: Adam Belz under Business trends, Economics Updated: January 27, 2015 - 2:12 PM

This is the percentage of the population living in poverty in Minnesota, by county, 2013. This data comes from the American Community Survey, 2013, 5-year estimates. The redder the county, the higher the poverty rate.

Here are the top 10 highest poverty rates:

Rank County Poverty rate
1 Mahnomen County 26.2%
2 Beltrami County 21.9%
3 Blue Earth County 19.2%
4 Wadena County 16.9%
5 Ramsey County 16.9%
6 Clearwater County 16.5%
7 Cass County 16.4%
8 St. Louis County 16.4%
9 Mower County 16.3%
10 Nobles County 16.0%

Opening Belz, Jan. 27

Posted by: Adam Belz under Business trends Updated: January 27, 2015 - 9:10 AM

Dayton proposes gas tax hike to fix roads – StarTribune
Malt-o-Meal, private Lakeville cereal company, sold to Post for $1.2bn – StarTribune
Caterpillar earnings fall on lower commodity prices – Reuters
Medtronic finalizes acquisition of Covidien, now an Irish company – StarTribune
Oshkosh Corp. profit falls 40% on declining military revenue – Journal Sentinel
University of Iowa absorbs business college, grows footprint in Des Moines – CR Gazette
Old piece saying wage stagnation may be less pernicious than it appears – Bloomberg
All you ever (or never) wanted to know about quantitative easing – John Cassidy
France’s far right party and its appeal to youth – Buzzfeed
How the Indian press responded to Obama – WSJ
What Google tells us about sex that no one will admit – NY Times

Opening Belz, Jan. 27

Posted by: Adam Belz under Business trends Updated: January 27, 2015 - 9:10 AM

Dayton proposes gas tax hike to fix roads – StarTribune
Malt-o-Meal, private Lakeville cereal company, sold to Post for $1.2bn – StarTribune
Caterpillar earnings fall on lower commodity prices – Reuters
Medtronic finalizes acquisition of Covidien, now an Irish company – StarTribune
Oshkosh Corp. profit falls 40% on declining military revenue – Journal Sentinel
University of Iowa absorbs business college, grows footprint in Des Moines – CR Gazette
Old piece saying wage stagnation may be less pernicious than it appears – Bloomberg
All you ever (or never) wanted to know about quantitative easing – John Cassidy
France’s far right party and its appeal to youth – Buzzfeed
How the Indian press responded to Obama – WSJ
What Google tells us about sex that no one will admit – NY Times

Opening Belz, Jan. 22

Posted by: Adam Belz under Business trends Updated: January 22, 2015 - 11:43 AM

Michigan’s jobless rate drops to 6.3% at end of 2014 – Detroit Free Press
Creepy old Duluth sanitarium could be turned into a school – Duluth News Tribune
Interesting gender wage gap law debated in North Dakota – Fargo Forum
UnitedHealth keeps growing thanks in part to Optum – StarTribune
3 million gallons of saltwater brine from oil drilling spills in ND – Associated Press
Transcript of the State of the Union address – Medium
SD’s John Thune takes lead role in net-neutrality proposal – Argus Leader
Greece, austerity and its creditors are back in the news – WSJ
"This will absolutely be the stoniest X Games yet" – Denver Post

Minnesota employers cut 5,200 jobs in December

Posted by: Adam Belz under Business trends, Economics Updated: January 22, 2015 - 11:35 AM

New job numbers for December throw cold water on what had been a run of gains in Minnesota, as employers cut 5,200 jobs in the month and November’s gains were revised downward by 4,000.

“We’ll file this one under the category of all good things must come to an end,” said Steve Hine, the labor market economist for the state.

Still, the state unemployment rate fell a tenth of a point to 3.6 percent, according to figures released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. The U.S. unemployment rate in December was 5.6 percent.

Minnesota job growth for the calendar year was the weakest since 2010, and in 2014, Minnesota lagged behind the nation. U.S. job growth for 2014 was 2.2 percent, nearly double the 1.2 percent rate of growth in Minnesota.

Asked how the unemployment rate can fall when the number of jobs in the state declined, Hine noted the unemployment rate and the total number of jobs are from different surveys, each with its own margin of error.

“They are counts of different things done by different surveys with different methodologies,” Hine said.

Average wages for all private sector workers fell 3 cents in December from $25.77 per hour to $25.74 per hour, and have fallen 20 cents since December 2013.

Most industries shed jobs in December, especially government, manufacturing, real estate and health care. Trade, transportation and utilities led all industries by adding 4,100 new jobs.

“We’ve had a string of months with very strong job growth both here and nationally,” Hine said. “It’s not at all unusual for a series of months that are as strong as that to be followed by a one-month correction.”

Stepping back to look at the bigger picture, Minnesota added 33,100 jobs in 2014, according to the numbers released Thursday. That compares to 59,300 in 2013, 43,500 in 2012 and 53,700 in 2011.

Construction, which showed some encouraging signs in 2014, now appears to be flat for job growth on the year.

Across the state, Mankato closed a strong year of job gains, adding more than 2,000 jobs for 3.7 percent growth.

The Twin Cities and St. Cloud both grew jobs at 1.8 percent. Rochester grew at 0.7 percent, and Duluth-Superior lost jobs at a rate of 0.7 percent.

Check back for updates to this story.

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