Owner Dan Digre of Misco in St. Paul

Minnesota job growth has slowed as business owners struggle to find and retain workers this year, according to Grow Minnesota, the 17-year Minnesota Chamber of Commerce that helps businesses expand in their community and Minnesota.

Sean O’Neil of Grow Minnesota, said state job growth fell to 41st among all states in October. According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, the state added only 7,400 jobs in October.

And DEED reported Thursday that Minnesota lost 3,000 jobs in November and unemployment rate rose slightly, to 3.3 percent; albeit a historically low levels.

“It’s good news that demand and business confidence have remained steady,” said O’Neil of sentiment among small business owners. “That’s a tribute to Minnesota’s entrepreneurial spirit, given fears of a possible slowdown in our economy and the uncertainty in international trade relations.

“Sixty-three percent of businesses visited in the second and third quarters of 2019 project increased revenue in the coming year compared with 57% that reported revenue growth during the past year," he said. "And 41% said they plan to add workers next year compared to 32% that added workers this year.

O’Neil and other chamber representatives, including representatives of 90 local chambers, primarily in the Twin Cities, southeast, central and northeast parts of the state, made about 900 visits to businesses over the 12-month period that ended in September.

O’Neil noted that Minnesota total exports declined for the first time in 10 consecutive quarters. That’s tied to the Trump trade war that has hurt U.S. exports, as well as slower global growth. 

Misco, a St. Paul-manufacturer of high-end industrial speakers, told the Star Tribune this month that it pays 25 percent tariffs on components it needs from China while competitors who import finished product from China only pay 15 percent.

Owner Dan Digre of 100-employee Misco, started by Digre’s dad after World War II as a radio-repair shop, said the recently announced “phase one’’ settlement with China, doesn’t ease his tariffs that have cut profit by 40 percent. He’s cancelled expansion plans.

Here’s a recent column I wrote about Trump trade wars and Misco: http://strib.mn/2Q56CgH.

Here's Evan Ramstad's Friday story about Minnesota employment: http://strib.mn/34FOrmX

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