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Third Quarter Regional Economic and Business Conditions Reports Shows Year-Over-Year Growth in Most of State

January 30, 2015

“It’s important that all Minnesotans – whether business owners, entrepreneurs, or consumers – understand the economic environment and trends throughout the state and in their local region."

SAINT PAUL — The 2014 third quarter Minnesota regional economic and business conditions reports were released today, and show that while several areas of Minnesota experienced a decline in leading economic indicators in the third quarter, the vast majority of the state showed year-over-year growth.

While third quarter economic indicators were not as robust as second quarter, every region in Minnesota saw their unemployment rate decrease. To view each region’s full report online, click here.

The reports were developed by the St. Cloud State University School of Public Affairs Research Institute, in partnership with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State. The series is the first to analyze Minnesota on a regional basis to present customized economic reviews and forecasts based on a comprehensive examination of several datasets, including business filings.

“It’s important that all Minnesotans – whether business owners, entrepreneurs, or consumers – understand the economic environment and trends throughout the state and in their local region,” said Secretary of State Steve Simon. “These reports serve as a tool for Minnesotans as they make important decisions about their businesses and their lives.”

The Office of the Secretary of State — which reviews and approves all Minnesota business filings — commissioned the reports to provide a perspective on business conditions and to deliver a tool for entrepreneurs to better understand their region. St. Cloud State University has developed similar analysis of St. Cloud’s business environment for more than 15 years.

“The third quarter seemed to be a lull for economic activity in Minnesota,” said King Banaian, report co-author and interim dean of the School of Public Affairs at St. Cloud State University. “We are not concerned about this, however, as there was good momentum in the first half of 2014 and early signs for the fourth quarter also appear positive. Low commodity prices may have dented economic growth in greater Minnesota, but gas prices may lead to better sales on Main Street.”

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Twin Cities
Twin Cities business conditions are expected to remain solid over the next several months, according to a variety of economic indicators. The Twin Cities Index of Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) fell by 0.92 points in the third quarter but remains 6.1 percent higher than it was last year.

There were 9,223 new business filings with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State in the seven-county metro area in the third quarter of 2014—representing a 2.0 percent decline from one year ago.

Employment increased by 1.8 percent over the year ending September 2014. The regional unemployment rate was 3.6 percent in September, an improvement on its 4.6 percent reading one year ago.

Central
Central Minnesota business conditions will remain solid over the next several months, according to a variety of economic indicators. While the Central Minnesota LEI declined slightly in the third quarter, the abundance of regional evidence points to continued economic strength.

There were 1,217 new business filings with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State in Central Minnesota in the third quarter of 2014—representing a 5.4 percent decline from one year ago.

Central Minnesota employment was 1.4 percent higher in September 2014 than it was one year earlier. Compared to one year ago, 4,884 more residents of Central Minnesota now have jobs. The regional unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in September 2014, well below the 4.6 percent rate reported one year ago.

Northeast
Northeast Minnesota business conditions are expected to remain steady over the next several months, according to a variety of economic indicators. Despite a decline in the Northeast Minnesota LEI in the third quarter, the level of the LEI is considerably above its 2013 value. Data from the Duluth/Superior Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) show strong economic conditions in Northeast Minnesota’s largest market.

There were 472 new business filings with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State in Northeast Minnesota in the third quarter of 2014—representing a 12.4 percent improvement from one year ago.

Northeast Minnesota employment was 0.5 percent higher than year earlier levels in September. The regional unemployment rate fell to 4.5 percent as the Northeast Minnesota labor force experienced a 0.7 percent annual decline.

Northwest
Northwest Minnesota business conditions are expected to improve over the next several months, according to a variety of economic indicators. The Northwest Minnesota LEI increased 1.46 points in the third quarter and it now stands 2.5 percent above its level one year ago.

There were 894 new business filings with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State in Northwest Minnesota in the third quarter of 2014—representing no change from one year ago.

Employment of Northwest Minnesota residents increased by 0.8 percent over the year ending September 2014. The regional unemployment rate was 3.6 percent in September, an improvement on its 4.4 percent reading one year ago.

Southeast
Southeast Minnesota business conditions are expected to remain steady over the next several months, according to a variety of economic indicators. Despite a small decline in the Southeast Minnesota LEI in the third quarter, the level of the LEI is well above its 2013 value.

There were 765 new business filings with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State in Southeast Minnesota in the third quarter of 2014 — representing a 9.9 percent decline from one year ago.

Employment of Southeast Minnesota residents increased by 0.9 percent over the year ending September 2014. Compared to September 2013, nearly 2,500 more residents now have jobs. The regional unemployment rate was 3.3 percent in September, an improvement from 4.2 percent in the year earlier period.

Southwest
Southwest Minnesota business conditions are expected to slow over the next several months, according to various economic indicators. The Southwest Minnesota LEI decreased by 4.16 points in the third quarter of 2014 and is now 1.4 percent lower than one year ago.

There were 565 new business filings with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State in Southwest Minnesota in the third quarter of 2014 — representing 12.1 percent more new filings than one year ago.

Employment of Southwest Minnesota residents increased by 0.5 percent over the year ending September 2014. One thousand sixty-one more Southwestern Minnesotans have jobs than one year ago. The regional unemployment rate was 3.2 percent in September, an improvement on its 3.9 percent reading in September 2013.


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Contact: Ryan Furlong, (651) 297-8919, ryan.furlong@state.mn.us

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