Less than a third of job openings in outstate Minnesota require post- secondary education, the lowest level since 2007, according to the state’s latest survey of job vacancies.
Of the roughly 43,595 available jobs in Minnesota outside the seven-county Twin Cities area, only 12,642 require any training or education past high school, and 5,667 of the jobs require a four-year degree.
The numbers were highlighted by Kevin Ristau, of the Jobs Now Coalition, and reflect a widening gap between the jobs available in the Twin Cities and those in the rest of the state.
In the seven counties that include Minneapolis and St. Paul, about 43 percent of openings require postsecondary education, and the median wage for openings in the metro area is $14.71 per hour compared to $13.11 per hour in the rest of Minnesota.
Ristau points out that food preparation and serving, sales, health care support, janitorial, and personal care and service account for 44 percent of job openings in outstate Minnesota, and those occupations pay a combined median wage of $10.50 per hour, which he argues is not enough to support a family.
“In a Greater Minnesota family of three with both parents working full-time, each worker must earn between $11.60 and $13.90 per hour to meet basic needs,” Ristau wrote, citing the state’s cost of living calculator.
The Job Vacancy Survey is a twice-annual report that gives one of the few pictures of the types of jobs available in Minnesota.
Steve Hine, the labor market analyst for the state’s Department of Employment and Economic Development, said the differences between jobs available in rural and urban Minnesota reflect differences in the cost of living, and the vacancy report should not be taken as a measure of the actual jobs that exist.
“Vacancies are meant to be a point in time measure of the number of openings, and tend to over count the number of openings in high-turnover occupations,” Hine said. “Better-paying, more stable jobs don’t tend to show up in vacancies.”
Statewide, there are 97,580 job openings in all occupations, and in October, there were an estimated 118,000 people officially unemployed.