How good is that MN job vacancy data?

If you’ve been looking for signs the economy is really improving for the unemployed, Minnesota’s latest job vacancy data offered some encouraging news: Employers reported 49,900 openings during the last quarter of 2011, 48 percent more than the 33,800 openings a year earlier.

The numbers, however, aren’t as shiny after you unpack the data, as Ron Wirtz with the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis found.

He writes that 42 percent of the job vacancies were for part-time jobs 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.”

Sectors with the greatest growth and largest number of job openings are also the ones that generally offer the lowest wages, he added. (Click on the chart for a larger view).


“Industry sectors like retail and accommodation employ many workers, are generally low-paying and typically see high turnover, which means they are perpetually looking for workers,” Wirtz adds.

It’s not bad news. Compared to other states Minnesota’s economic data lately has been looking decent.

The vacancies data, though, reminds us that Minnesota is still struggling to add the kinds of jobs that the state needs for the economy’s long-run health.

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