Job vacancies in Minnesota grew 18 percent from a year ago, posting the highest numbers in seven years and offering an encouraging sign for a sluggish state job market, according to figures released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
DEED said employers reported 58,860 job vacancies in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared with 49,890 openings during the same period in 2011. There were 2.6 unemployed people for each vacancy, compared with 3.2 unemployed people per vacancy a year earlier.
"We haven't seen this many job openings in the fourth quarter since well before the Great Recession started," said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben.
The median wage offer for vacant jobs was $13.14 per hour, DEED said, and about 39 percent of the openings were for part-time jobs, down from 42 percent a year ago.
Over-the-year vacancies in manufacturing were up by 10 percent, totaling 500 more vacancies than reported at this time last year.
The analysis found that 34,400 of the openings, or 58.4 percent, were in the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area, while 24,460 were in Greater Minnesota.
In the Twin Cities, there were 2.4 unemployed people per vacancy (down from 2.9 a year ago), while Greater Minnesota had 3.0 unemployed people per vacancy (down from 3.7 a year ago).
Statewide, health care and social assistance had the most vacancies – about a fifth of the total. Retail accounted for 14 percent; accommodation and food services, 11.5 percent; manufacturing, 9.2 percent; and finance and insurance, 7.6 percent.
The most job vacancies were reported by middle-sized firms with between 10 and 249 employees, which accounted for 62.1 percent of the openings. Large firms accounted for 23.6 percent of the openings, while small firms with fewer than 10 employees had 14.2 percent of the openings.