Economic Policy

By the Numbers: Minneapolis’ Unemployment Rate

Photo Courtesy of - Downtown Minneapolis

Photo Courtesy of – Downtown Minneapolis from 35 W

Minneapolis, along with the rest of the United States, just recently weathered the great recession. At the height of the great recession, its unemployment rate was about 10 percent. Today, it is less than four percent and about two percentage points less than the national average according to the Department of Numbers.

So how does Minneapolis compare to the rest of the cities in the United States? Another way to find the answer to this question is rephrase the question. How does the metropolitan area that includes Minneapolis compare to the rest of the metropolitan areas in the United States? And why is this important?

First, one of the prerequisites to a healthy city is to consider and address its unemployment rate and number of unemployed. For example, and in the case of Minneapolis, the unemployment rate in June 2015 was 3.6 percent. In addition,

the total number of unemployed decreased from 72,222 workers in May to 69,581 workers in June.

And according to the United States Census Bureau, Minneapolis had a population of more than 400 thousand in 2014 which was an increase of approximately 7 thousand residents. Subsequently, Minneapolis residency has been growing since 2010. Although the number of unemployed has been bouncing between a minimum of approximately 66 thousand and a maximum of approximately 72 thousand, the unemployment percentage and number of unemployed has been fairly stable and restricted in its respective ranges, while still trending downward over the long term.

A second reason for why this is important is because it illustrates the relationship between the small and large businesses in the area, their willingness and need to fill labor and management positions by employing local citizens (workers), and in return the qualifications of skills and credentials of the local work force to be able to fill those positions. Hence, this relationship between the firms (businesses) and labor (workers) in the market place perpetuates a thriving and healthy economy which in turn perpetuates revenues for the businesses and utility for the workers.

Photo Courtesy of the Department of Numbers - Minneapolis Unemployment Rate

Photo Courtesy of the Department of Numbers – Minneapolis Unemployment Rate

Of course not all residents of Minnapolis are employable or are employed for various reasons. However, for those who are, the vast majority of them are employed as illustrated by the unemployment rate, or rather the employment rate of more than 96 percent. Now back to the original question, how does the Twin Cities compare to the other metropolitan areas here in the United States?

Well actually, the Twin Cities is doing quite well. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, it ranks second in the nation, out of 51 metropolitan areas of 1 million or more residents, and only behind the Austin-Roundrock metropolitan area. Not too bad considering the city was sitting at an unemployment rate of about 10 percent and an unemployment population of about 150 thousand a little more than 5 years ago. So by deducation, Minneapolis is doing pretty well in its unemployment compared to the other American cities here in the United States. But despite this success, Minneapolis and its surrounding areas still have some discrepancies in the economic environment (market place).

First, the unemployment rate for “black” Minnesota citizens is approximately 4 times higher than “white” Minnesota citizens according to an article in the City Pages published back in March of this year. Second, there are two assumptions that this author is prepared to make. First, there is a correlation between crime and unemployment (clearly this is not a stretch). And second, if one takes the time to decompose the economic numbers in greater depth, one should find that a part of the unemployment discrepancy between “whites” and “blacks” in the case of Minneapolis is access to educational opportunities, which in turn provides access to those professions that pay higher wages such as science, engineering, and finance. But these are considerations for future articles.

The main point here is that Minneapolis is doing pretty well according to the numbers. It may not be perfect, but the opportunities are there. And if the right policies are implemented by the Minneapolis city council with consideration for how those policies will affect the respective economic environments of Minneapolis along with its respective groups of citizens, then Minneapolis will have no where to go but up.



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