Minnesota’s jobs ‘recovery’ slogs on

There isn’t a ton to take away from the latest Minnesota unemployment data. The 6,200 jobs gained in February was a plus as was the bump in construction, an industry that’s really taken it on the chin in the recession.

But it’s the long term slog out of the recession that remains so frustrating.

More than four years after the Great Recession began and more than 2.5 years since the start of the recovery, today’s data show the state has regained only half the jobs — 52 percent — lost in the recession.

The state’s February economic forecast estimated that it will be late next year before Minnesota gains back all the jobs lost in the recession — and that’s more upbeat than the prior projection of 2014.

Here’s a telling chart from the state forecast:

jobrecovery.jpg

I used to try to argue that the early 80s recession — my first recession — was worse than the Great Recession.

But as painful as I recall it, the jobs came back faster in the early 80s than now. This is certainly the worst that most living Minnesotans have seen.

The recent jump in job vacancies feels positive but dig deeper and you see more reason for long term concern. The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis looked at job vacancy data from the state Department of Employment and Economic Development and concluded:

While certainly moving in the right direction, job vacancies still have some way to go before spurring the type of employment market many hope for.

For example, DEED said 42 percent of the job vacancies were for part-time employment and another 13 percent were for temporary or seasonal work. The median wage offer for all job vacancies was $10.89 an hour–slightly lower than median wages seen in the same quarter of 2007 and 2008.

A breakdown of vacancies also shows that industry sectors with the greatest percentage of growth and the largest number of job vacancies generally offer lower wages.

BONUS POSITIVE STAT: Something good is happening in Mankato. Today’s data show the Mankato area has added 2,100 jobs in the past 12 months, a 4 percent increase, far outpacing the growth in any other Minnesota metro area.

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