Labor Data: Recruitment Concerns in Minneapolis Labor Market

July 22, 2019
Author: ThinkWhy Analyst

ThinkWhy's June 2019 Metro Highlight

The U.S. Census Bureau places Minneapolis–St. Paul–Bloomington 16th in population size. For June, monthly employment gain turned positive after two consecutive months of losses. Despite positive monthly job gain, the Twin Cities area is still in negative territory. For June 2019, annual job gain turned negative at a loss of 4,700 jobs.

ThinkWhy Economists identify Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington as one of the hardest areas in the country for recruiting.

ThinkWhy It Matters

Of all employment sectors in Minneapolis, Healthcare has suffered major losses with 6,400 jobs lost in the June year-over-year reporting. The losses in Healthcare are taking place in the social assistance (-3,500) and ambulatory healthcare service (-2,500) sectors. Hospital services gained 1,300 jobs on an annual basis in June 2019.

The loss of jobs negatively impacts Minneapolis as a whole and could have longer-term implications to the general health of the economy if not corrected. With baby boomers retiring, immigration to the area slowing, and lower birth rates, this condition will need strategic remedies from health care management and state administrators.

Minneapolis Varied Annual Job Growth

Job Growth

Since late 2017, Minneapolis has experienced a quiet deceleration but this year the magnitude of deceleration has picked up the pace. Historical average job gain is approximately 30,000 jobs per year, but year-to-date, annual average job gain is slow at 3,000 jobs.


This first-quarter unemployment rate in the area-averaged 3.5 percent indicating a trend of occasional monthly job loss for the area.
As of May 2019, the unemployment rate stands at 2.7 percent. With near 55,000 unemployed persons in Minneapolis, those who cannot find employment are likely not a skills match for the thousands of available roles in the area.

According to Employment and Economic Development Commissioner, Steve Grove, "Minnesota continues to experience strong hiring demand statewide.

This tight labor market highlights the importance of investing in training programs and lowering barriers to employment so that all Minnesotans can find work."

Wage Growth

Year-to-date, the annual average wage growth has been 3.8 percent. Current monthly wage growth has substantially increased to 5.1 percent. Comparatively, this is higher than both the area’s historical average and national average.

High wages, improved benefits, and attractive working arrangements will become a prominent force and everyday occurrence in Minneapolis more so than other metros in the nation.

Industry Performance

The Healthcare industry dominates the area in losses. The healthcare and social assistance industry lost about 6,400 jobs in June 2019 compared to last year and is well below the historical average growth. The largest share of job openings in the area falls in the healthcare sector.

Construction jobs, alongside Manufacturing, remain strong as both are still being fueled by residential housing.

Professional and Business Services is seeing job growth in the technical jobs category and is still performing better than the historical growth rate.

Leisure and Hospitality represents a large share of jobs in the metro area. Alongside Manufacturing, Leisure and Hospitality remains strong in the metro area. Though the area is not well known for tourism-related jobs, business travel and conferences are driving forces of opportunity for this area.

The 11th annual State of Manufacturing Survey®, sponsored by Enterprise Minnesota, echoes these sentiments. Bob Kill, President, and CEO of Enterprise Minnesota states that, “severe worker shortages are overshadowing growth and profitability.”

Bob Kill continues, “It’s not about hiring anymore, it’s about constantly recruiting. The biggest factor casting a shadow on enthusiasm is the ongoing worker shortage, which has no end in sight.”

Organizations that strategically plan using automation, effective productivity strategies and solid leadership principles will continue to show growth in the area despite hiring challenges. Creating a strategic wage and hiring plan that is ongoing will allow firms to weather this talent storm.

In Minneapolis and have a challenging talent acquisition story you'd like to share? Connect with us at

Gain more insight into employment statistics, including job growth and hot and cold employment sectors, with ThinkWhy's Major Market Activity Report for June 2019.