Minnesota Job Growth Lags U.S., Leads on Wage Gains

Seven Minnesota counties saw job gains in from December 2014 to December 2015, but only two saw gains greater than the national average according to a new report released by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The report included the 342 U.S. counties with 75,000 or more jobs. These accounted for 72.5 percent of total employment in the United States.

Anoka, Dakota, Hennepin, Olmsted, Ramsey, Stearns, and Washington counties gained jobs, but most finished in the bottom half in percent change amongst the counties reported on. Washington County’s 2.9 percent increase in total jobs saw it rank 102nd, while Olmsted County’s 2.5 percent change ranked 130th. These were also the only two counties in Minnesota which beat the national increase rate of 1.9 percent.

On the flip side, a partly 0.6 percent growth by Dakota County saw it rank 281st, and St. Louis County actually lost jobs at, placing 312th, and being one of only 34 counties to lose jobs from December 2014 to December 2015.

The same report also detailed changes in the average weekly wage in each county. Each of the seven Minnesota counties in the report saw increases in average wage, with Anoka County leading the way with a 9.3 percent increase to break the thousand-dollar mark. St. Louis, Stearns, and Washington counties remain under $900 per week, but each saw growth in excess of 5.5 percent over the course of the year. Anoka’s growth in this metric was the fifth highest in the nation, behind only Wyandotte County, Kansas; Sonoma County, California; Lake County, Illinois; and Passaic County, New Jersey.

In this metric the seven Minnesota counties that made it into the report generally outperformed the national growth rate of 4.4 percent from December 2014 to 2015. Hennepin and Olmsted counties were the only two which failed to do so, at 3.2 and 3.8 percent respectively.

Anders Koskinen