Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Oakdale MN Economic Development Commission Jobs Report Presentation

Rachel Vilsack, Coordinator of Special Projects, Labor Market Information Office, gave a semi-annual presentation on Labor data, at the Oakdale Minnesota, Economic Development Commission meeting on Wednesday 5/9/2012.  The presentation focused on Minnesota vs the US labor rates and gave some specific information about the City of Oakdale employment picture.  The presentation was a very good summary of the effects of the recession and the status of the job recovery. One I believe you will find very watchable and informative. The Oakdale specific information is a unique view into the economy of our community, one I don't think you can readily find in such a nice presentation.

Highlights were:

Total employment statistics had peaked at nearly 2.8 million jobs in Feb 2008.  We subsequently lost 154,000 or 5.5% in Minnesota, and US lost at 6.4%.  Feb 2010 was our minimum/trough, and we have regained about 79,000 as of March 2012  If we maintain adding jobs at the current rate, about 2700 jobs per month, we will regain our pre-recession peak in May of 2014.  The charts and statistics show that Minnesota, and as Rachel relates, in fact most of the midwestern states, were less affected than the nation as a whole.  Not that that makes any of those affected feel any less pain as they became one of the statistics, and hopefully part of the in progress recovery.

As employment has increased, the average weekly hours and wages have begun returning, and we should regain the 2008 level in just a couple of months (from May 2012).  Also average earnings have improved by $1.15/hour bringing it to $24.57 per hour.

Oakdale  (employers located in Oakdale, MN) Third Quarter statistics are:
Establishments516585 580
Jobs 6902 7251 8197
Total Wages (millions)$69 $71 $90
Ave Weekly Wage $773 $760$848

Oakdale Minnesota Industry Trends
Largest employing industries 3Q 2011
SectorJobs in 3Q 2011Change from 3Q 2009
to 3Q2011
Retail1369( (17%)
Accommodation and food services1106 (14%)
Manufacturing828 (10%)- 128
Finance and insurance810 (10%)+ 369
Health care and social assistance558 (7%)+ 91
Administrative and Support+ 320
Educational services- 58
Arts and Entertainment- 41

Unemployment rates for Minnesota peaked at 8.5% while US peaked at 10.2%.  Declines in the unemployment rate can also be seen as the result of fewer people actively seeking employment and dropping out of the labor market.  This can be due to many reasons, the recent recession as well as long term demographic trends of retiring baby boomers.  The number of people who have not been able to find employment for well over a year also continues to swell.  Many people are continuing to find challenges in their personal economic situation.  Rachel further discusses some more of the participation rate in the video.  [Note: I plan on making that a subject for a later discussion.]

At the peak in 2009 there were 8 jobs seekers per job vacancy.  That number has fallen to about 3 job seekers per opening at the end of 2011.

Minnesota industry projections, 2010 to 2020 show the largest new job growth areas to be in Construction +42.3% (37,103 jobs) and Education and Health Services +32.1% (142,776), with manufacturing only gaining +4.9% (14,198). Recovery from steep job losses in the recession will likely boost job growth in Minnesota during this decade.  Slowing as baby boomer retirements peak and the number of people entering the labor force slows considerably. Replacement workers to fill vacancies (retirements, or leaving profession) will be 670,000.  I have a great video of a presentation done by the Minnesota Economist and Demographer that is a very good introduction of the topic of "The Boomer Tsunami" demographics and the economy.

In summary, we are in a protracted recovery period that still has a way go to return to where we were pre-recession.  The good news is that the recovery, anemic though it might be, is in progress.  The difficulty lies in the job market makeup (kinds of jobs) and the job increase versus (or keeping apace with) population growth.

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