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
Minnesota employers reported nearly 60,400 job vacancies in the fourth quarter last year – the most job openings in the state during a fourth quarter in nine years, according to figures released Tuesday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
The agency said job vacancies in Minnesota were up 2.6 percent from the same period a year ago. Statewide, there were 2.1 unemployed people for each vacancy, compared with 2.6 unemployed people per vacancy in the fourth quarter of 2012.
“While there are still hardworking Minnesotans looking for employment, our data suggest the labor market is coming back into alignment in the wake of the recession,” said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben. “Increased job vacancies are a sign that the economy is growing and companies are looking for skilled workers.”
According to the study, 33,160 vacancies, or 54.9 percent, were in the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area, while the remaining 27,240 vacancies were in Greater Minnesota. Compared with a year ago, job vacancies were up 11.3 percent in Greater Minnesota and down 3.6 percent in the Twin Cities.
Many of the openings don't pay well. The median wage offer for 16,202 of the openings was $9.50 per hour -- the minimum wage proposed at the State Capitol -- or less.
However, 12,643 vacancies had a median wage offer of more than $20 an hour.
Health care and social assistance had the most job vacancies -- a fifth of the total. It was followed by retail trade (14.6 percent), manufacturing (10.9 percent), accommodation and food services (8.9 percent) and construction (6 percent).
Middle-sized firms (businesses with 10 to 249 employees) accounted for 64.5 percent of the vacancies, while large firms (250 or more employees) had 22.8 percent of the vacancies and small firms (fewer than 10 employees) had 12.7 percent of the vacancies.
Here are some other findings from the survey, which is released twice each year, and is full of interesting data:
1. 39 percent of the vacancies were for part-time jobs (defined as fewer than 35 hours a week).
2. 14 percent of the vacancies were for temporary or seasonal work.
3. 38 percent of the vacancies required at least some post-secondary education or training beyond high school.
4. 53 percent of the vacancies required one or more years of work experience.
5. The median (50th percentile) wage offer for all job vacancies was $13 an hour.
6. 56 percent of the vacancies offered health insurance.