Minnesota Facing Slowdown in Labor Force Growth

The State of Minnesota currently is experiencing many positive economic circumstances. First, “most people who want a job have one, with the state’s unemployment rate floating around 3.4 percent. Meanwhile, nearly seven in 10 working-age Minnesotans either have or are looking for jobs, ensuring employers have a robust talent pool from which to hire.” [1] Second, smaller towns and cities in the rural parts of the State are affirmatively seeking younger people to move in. [2]

However, “[o]ver the next ten years, Minnesota is forecast to have far fewer people entering the labor force than previous decades — a problem for employers, who may have problems filling critical jobs as baby boomers retire and others drop out of the workforce.”

This problematic future was endorsed by Cameron Macht, a regional analysis and outreach manager at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. He said, “It’s definitely a major issue for employers in the state, and looking forward it may become an even bigger deal.”

There are at least three key factors contributing to this problem.

First, working-age residents who are not working or looking for jobs now amount to about 30 percent of this group. “Many are in Greater Minnesota [the rural parts of the State], where in some counties nearly half of the adult population has dropped out of the workforce.”

Second, in excess of half of the state’s workforce dropouts are 65 and older — a number that is likely to increase as more baby boomers reach retirement age.

Third, roughly  60% of this group are women. Among those staying home, lack of sufficient childcare could be of concern, and Census data shows about a quarter of married couples with children under 18 reported at least one spouse outside the workforce.”

“Foreign-born populations also affect these rates, as they accounted for both a 60 percent jump in labor force growth from 2007 to 2017 but a 25 percent increase in those outside the workforce.”

===============================

[1] Hargarten, Minnesota faces a labor growth slowdown. This data helps explain why, StarTribune (Sept. 1, 2019).

[2] Rural Minnesota Endeavoring To Attract Young People, dwkcommentaries.com (Sept. 2, 2019).