Minnesota’s jobs recovery? Two-plus years away

OK, the good news is that Minnesota continues to do better than the nation when it comes to unemployment and regaining the jobs lost in the Great Recession.

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End good news here.

New budget and economic forecasts released today by Minnesota state officials put numbers to what many Minnesotans in MPR’s Public Insight Network have been telling us all year: a slower than expected jobs recovery, glimmers of hope but otherwise a frustrating slog.

This is not the job-creating recovery we’ve come to expect after recessions.

Here’s a look at the newest, flatter job growth projection compared to the one in February (Click on the graphic for a larger view).

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Here’s the bad news lifted from the report in edited chunks.

Until there are clearer signs of a self-sustaining expansion...employers will remain cautious about further hiring decisions and Minnesotans will remain stressed with severe unemployment … stubbornly high concentrations of home foreclosures, high debt burdens, and depleted wealth.

Without a noticeable improvement in the national employment picture… it is unlikely Minnesota will be able to sustain its current pace of job creation in 2011. In the November 2010 forecast, labor market conditions will continue to improve into 2011, but more slowly than forecast in February.

Employment growth is expected to slow in the first part of the year … as consumers continue to repair household finances and the housing market inches toward recovery. The November forecast estimates that it will take until mid-2013 before Minnesota employment returns to peak pre-recession levels.

The number of jobs Minnesota employers add to their payrolls is forecast to

average just 2,000 a month… in the early part of next year before picking up to over 4,000 by early 2012. Minnesota’s labor market needs to produce an estimated 2,000 jobs a month to simply keep pace with population growth and new people entering the workforce.

This slower pace of job creation … over the next 6 to 12 months will continue to make it very difficult to put the state’s unemployed, displaced, and underutilized workers back to work promptly.

Yes, it isn’t all bad news.

The forecast notes that Minnesota’s regained a third of the 162,200 jobs lost at the lowest point of the recession and that fewer people are seeking jobless aid for the first time or collecting unemployment.

Still, this month marks the third year since the Great Recession began. It’s a year and a half since the recovery officially began.

Just a couple months ago, one expert was predicting that Minnesota would be back to pre-recession employment levels by the end of next year.

Meanwhile, there are continued worrisome trends linger in the state’s labor force data.

Take a look through the newest state data and tell us what you see. Post below or contact us directly at MinnEcon.

Right now, it looks like an economy where things will be on the upswing if you’re employed. If you’re not, the hard journey the recession set in motion three years ago isn’t close to over.

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