Minneapolis is currently experiencing a beautiful, warm, and sunny day in terms of economic stability and vitality. It currently has 9 Forbes 1000 companies, which is the most per capital of any city in the United States. It has a good complement of both industry firms (businesses), small and large, and a good complement of labor and management (workers) in the services, financial, energy, engineering, manufacturing, and science related industries. For the most part, Minneapolis is experiencing good economic news. It is sporting about a three and half unemployment rate. However, there are some discrepancies in the system environment that still need to be addressed. There are some areas of Minneapolis that are still neglected relative to the rest of the city and lack economic and educational opportunities. But there is good news for workers in the market place.
In a recent article published in the Star Tribune, a local Minneapolis paper,
Restaurateurs across Minnesota are facing a growing shortage of workers at the same time a boom in restaurant openings is creating even more need for servers and cooks. The state’s food service industry, which offers new hires a median wage of $9.11 per hour, this summer had the most openings since 2001, 44 percent more than a year ago.
This is a good indicator of the health of the current Minneapolis market place. As of the first quarter of 2015, and according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, the Accommodation and Food services sector, which is a part of the Leisure and Hospitality supersector, provided 25,028 jobs. This is about 8.1 percent of the total jobs in Minneapolis and it appears that the restaurant industry demand is increasing. Now labor just needs to catch up and supply the workers. So where shall this supply of workers come from? Can Minneapolis supply it?
As good of a problem as this excess of restaurant jobs may be – more jobs than workers is always a better problem to have in any industry than the reverse – this still does not address some of the discrepancies in the Minneapolis market place or how such discrepancies will be addressed. This is because there are certain parts of Minneapolis that still face higher unemployment rates, a less educated work force, and, therefore, a less competitive work force.
There is a minimum education for any industry, but if an industry is looking for employees, for example the Restaurant industry in Minneapolis, there are more than 65,000 unemployed potential workers to draw from who reside in Minneapolis and a good number of these unemployed workers reside on the north side.
This is because North Minneapolis experiences some of the highest unemployment rates in the city of Minneapolis. A possible and immediate solution to this policy challenge is to somehow bridge those unemployed persons in North Minneapolis with the restaurant industry. If that industry is looking for employees, then it has a base of good people to draw from. But by no means is this a permanent fix. Because of decades of neglect and the lack of economic and educational opportunity, long-term solutions will take systemic and dynamical policies. What is meant by systemic and dynamical policies? Well that is something that will take time to explain. The world is a complex place and North Minneapolis is no exception.
In the mean time, there is a more important concern. If the restaurant industry decides to seek out those more likely to be unemployed, for example, “black” Minnesotans, who are about 4 times more likely to be unemployed than their “white” counterparts, then how will the industry create access to such opportunities? The restaurant industry faces communication and transportation obstacles. These remarks will be clarified in future articles. These are some of the challenges of urban dynamics.