The top business story in Minnesota a year ago, as the calendar turned to 2014, was a major data breach at Target and the company’s effort to contain the damage.
Headlines since then have included a surging labor market, with the state’s unemployment rate the lowest in more than a decade, and a wave of big construction projects either proposed or underway. Target Corp. brought on a new CEO, and Medtronic Inc. announced a controversial merger that would move its legal headquarters from Fridley to Ireland.
During the year the Star Tribune reported on the increased prominence of the Davis family, owners of Sun Country Airlines and other businesses, as well as on the economic challenges that remained as the state moved onward from the Great Recession.
Here are the most-read business stories of 2014 on StarTribune.com:
1. Under-the-radar Minnesota family among America’s richest (Dec. 6)
From Cambria quartz countertops to the Davis family dairies to Sun Country Airlines, the Davis family owns and manages some of the state’s landmark homegrown businesses. They employ 2,600 workers and take in about $710 million a year in revenue, a figure that would rank the privately held business 38th among Minnesota’s 100 largest publicly traded companies.
2. Target eliminates 475 jobs, most at Minneapolis HQ (Jan. 22)
Target Corp. laid off 475 employees and said it will not fill 700 open positions as the company struggles with stubbornly sluggish sales and fallout from the massive computer security breach that short-circuited its crucial holiday period.
3. Target offers free credit monitoring and identity theft insurance (Jan. 15)
Target’s efforts to regain customers’ trust after a massive data breach include an offer of daily credit card monitoring, identity theft insurance and access to a fraud resolution agent.
4. Cargill to outsource IT services; 900 jobs affected (March 27)
Cargill Inc. will outsource some of its information technology services, a move that will affect 900 jobs worldwide, including 300 in the Twin Cities. The Minnetonka-based agribusiness giant told employees this week that it will move certain IT functions to Tata Consultancy Services, based in Mumbai, India.
5. Left Behind: Over 50, working against time in America’s harsh job market (Feb. 4)
It has never been easy to get older, need a good full-time job and not have one. But that’s the predicament now for more Americans than ever, and the challenge has gotten steeper in the prolonged recovery. Millions of workers in their 50s and 60s are drifting into the perilous intersection of unemployment, underemployment and retirement.
6. Minnesota’s wealthy caught in a tight tax net over residency (April 16)
It’s getting tougher for Minnesotans to avoid the state’s taxes by spending part of the year somewhere else. Snowbirds and high earners are discovering that they must do more than buy a condo in the Sun Belt and register a vehicle there, after a court decision last year reinforced the state’s ability to use any of more than two dozen criteria to determine who is a Minnesota resident.
7. Massive solar plan for Minnesota wins bid over gas (Jan. 2)
In an unprecedented ruling, a judge reviewing whether Minneapolis-based Xcel Energy Inc. should invest in new natural gas generators vs. large solar power arrays concluded that solar is a better deal.
8. Amazon to collect Minnesota sales tax starting Oct. 1 (Sept. 23)
Amazon.com Inc. will begin collecting sales taxes from Minnesota customers, ending a cost advantage it’s enjoyed over brick-and-mortar retailers in the state.
9. Left behind: Job loss buries hopes, careers (Jan. 12)
Millions of Americans have moved on from the recession with careers and finances mostly intact, but large groups have fallen behind, perhaps for good. The difference is whether they were able to hang on to their jobs.
10. Dunkin’ Donuts outlines plans for about 50 Minnesota stores (Jan. 10)
The nation’s largest doughnut-and-coffee chain is laying the groundwork “that will get us to about 50 stores in Minnesota,” the company’s senior director of U.S. franchising said.