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Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State

News Review
New Economic and Business Conditions Reports Analyze and Map State's Development by Region
Posted Date: 5/22/2014

Contact: Nathan Bowie, (651) 297-8919, nathan.bowie@state.mn.us

SAINT PAUL, Minnesota — The first in a series of Minnesota regional economic and business conditions reports was released today, 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 2014 first-quarter reports are 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.

Among the highlights of the report are regional maps that plot where new businesses have been registered over the past 14 years, the first time business filing data have been mapped.

“It’s extremely useful for local businesses to have access to this information to understand important indicators that are affecting their region’s business and economic development,” says Secretary of State Mark Ritchie. “Our goal is to give entrepreneurs a window into their region’s business climate so they can better plan for the future.”

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 15 years.

“These reports are a first for a data structure that comprehensively analyzes and incorporates specific regional indicators such as initial claims for unemployment insurance and building permits,” says Professor King Banaian, director of the St. Cloud State Public Affairs Research Institute. “The use of business filings at the ZIP-code level, for the purpose of creating forward-looking indicators, is new for Minnesota.”

The reports also build on a continuing initiative of the Office of the Secretary of State to combine available datasets that support the enhancement of Minnesota business innovation. In February, the office held Capitol Code, a collaborative, idea-sharing event for citizens to use accessible public datasets to create new technology solutions that might stimulate business opportunities, such as smartphone applications.

Key findings for each region are listed below. View each region’s full report online.

Twin Cities
There were 10,406 new business filings in the seven-county metro area in the first quarter of 2014 — representing a 0.7 percent increase from one year ago.

Employment increased by 1.4 percent over the year ending March 2014. The regional unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in March, an improvement on its 5.1 percent reading one year ago. Job vacancies continue to rise — there is now nearly one vacancy for every two people unemployed in the metro area. 

Based on an index built with five leading indicators, Twin Cities business conditions are expected to improve over the next four-to-six months. Despite poor winter weather, the value of residential building permits expanded in the metro, further lifting the outlook for the regional economy. 

Central
There were 1,450 new business filings in the 2014 first quarter — representing a 0.3 percent decline from one year ago.

Employment grew at a 1.8 percent seasonally adjusted annual rate in the 2014 first quarter. Nearly 7,000 more residents of Central Minnesota are employed than one year ago.  The seasonally adjusted regional unemployment rate finished at 5.4 percent, its lowest rate since February 2008. 

Based on an index built with five leading indicators, Central Minnesota business conditions are expected to improve over the next four-to-six months.

Northeast
There were 539 new business filings in the first quarter of 2014 — representing an 8.5 percent improvement from 2013.

Employment grew at a 0.8 percent rate over the 2014 first quarter. More than 1,000 additional residents are now employed compared to one year ago, about equal to the growth of the labor force.  There are nearly two job vacancies for every five unemployed people in the region.

Based on an index built with five leading indicators, Northeast Minnesota business conditions are expected to improve over the next four-to-six months.

Northwest
There were 1,024 new business filings in the 2014 first quarter — representing a 5.5 percent decline from one year ago.

Employment increased by 1.9 percent over the year ending March 2014. More than 5,000 more residents are now employed compared to one year ago.  The regional unemployment rate was 6.9 percent in March, an improvement on its 7.2 percent reading one year ago. Job vacancies have increased over the last three years— there is now nearly one vacancy for every two people unemployed in this region.

Based on an index built with five leading indicators, Northwest Minnesota business conditions are expected to slow over the next four-to-six months.

Southeast
There were 847 new business filings in the 2014 first quarter — representing a 1.5 percent decline from one year ago.

Employment increased by 1 percent over the year ending March 2014. Nearly 2,700 more residents are now employed than one year ago. Job vacancies continue to rise as a share of unemployed persons — there is now nearly one vacancy for every two people unemployed in this region.

Based on an index built with five leading indicators, Southeast Minnesota business conditions are expected to remain strong over the next four-to-six months.

Southwest
There were 660 new business filings in the 2014 first quarter — representing a 6.8 percent increase from 2013.

Employment increased by 1.5 percent over the year ending March 2014. More than 3,000 more Southwestern Minnesotans are now employed than one year ago.  The regional unemployment rate was 5.4 percent in March, an improvement on its 5.6 percent reading one year ago. There is more than one vacancy for every two people unemployed in this region.

Based on an index built with four leading indicators, Southwest Minnesota business conditions are expected to improve over the next four-to-six months.

Minnesota Statewide Business Filings
The Office of the Secretary of State reports there were 58,260 new Minnesota businesses filed in 2013, the third-highest annual filings total on record, following 2009 (63,338) and 2012 (60,827).

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