Minnesota’s business climate continues to be a mixed bag for economic growth, according to the 2020 Minnesota Business Benchmarks report, commissioned by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce.

"This report helps deepen our understanding of Minnesota’s economic competitiveness,” Minnesota Chamber President Doug Loon said.

Several indicators of overall performance, including job creation and GDP, have lagged behind the national average for most of the past five years.

The benchmarks report, released Thursday at the Chamber’s annual meeting, compiles key indicators to identify state strengths, as well as areas for improvement for Minnesota to compete in the global economy. The “comprehensive, objective data” was compiled from sources such as state and federal agencies.

The report is at: http://minnesotachamber.com

The fifth annual report provides insights such as: Improved highway performance, lower workers’ compensation costs, and more talent coming into Minnesota through state-to-state and international migration. More troubling trends include rising tax burdens and health care costs, and an overall economic performance that lags behind the national average.

Workforce is one of the state’s top strengths. Minnesota also faces critical labor shortages and education challenges.

“Minnesota continues to be a leader in innovation,” Loon added. “The cost of health care, taxes and operational costs are continued concerns to employers and employees alike.”

Minnesota also has a worker shortage. And the chamber supports immigration reform that will create more citizens and employees to replace retiring baby boomers.

“We need to solve the problem for few years down the road,” said Hussein Farah, executive director of New Vision Foundation in St. Paul of the state’s historic labor shortage.

The cost of health care, taxes and operational costs are continuing concerns to employers

Laura Ekholm, executive vice president at L&M Radiator in Hibbing, said the company is increasingly challenged by the state regulations

 “We aren’t just a Minnesota company," Ekholm said. "If something adds costs to doing business in Minnesota, we won’t look favorably on that. There are a lot of good companies in Minnesota. We need to keep them here.”

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