Economic Policy

Minneapolis Trends Update: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

“Foreclosures also increased in the 4th and 5th Wards by about 24 and 25 percent, respectively.”

By Matt Johnson, The Systems Scientist

The Minneapolis Trends: A Quarterly Overview of Socioeconomic & Housing Trends in Minneapolis (MT) released its 2015 4th Quarter findings today. For those not familiar, the Minneapolis Trends is released quarterly by the CPED (Community Planning & Economic Development) which is a city department that comprises four divisions:

  1. Long Range Planning,
  2. Housing Development and Policy,
  3. Economic Development and Policy,
  4. and Development Services.

Every quarter, MT releases its approximately 45 page report. In this report, the MT provides data on employment, labor force, number and percent of foreclosures, wages, construction and demolitions, and other economic and housing information.

Figure 1

Figure 1

Here are some highlights of the 4th quarter report and some differences from the 3rd quarter report:

Good News:

  1. Unemployment dropped from 3.5 percent in the 3rd quarter of 2015 to 2.8 percent in the 4th quarter of 2015. Minneapolis should retain its top position for unemployment for the 50 largest cities in the United States.
  2. The average number of jobs increased from 309,091 in the 1st quarter of 2015 to 317,086 in the 2nd quarter of 2015. Obviously that’s a nice little increase in job availability. Note, this economic category is behind by two quarters. In other words, there are no 3rd or 4th quarter numbers yet.
  3. Average weekly wages in Minneapolis are still higher than the Metro average weekly wages or the Minnesota average weekly wages, see Figure 1. The following numbers are for the 2nd quarter 2015:
    1. Minneapolis Average Weekly Wages: $1,255
    2. Metro Average Weekly Wages: $1,098
    3. Minnesota Average Weekly Wages: $977

Bad News:

  1. Foreclosures increased across the city by about 24 percent. There were 101 foreclosures in the 3rd quarter of 2015. However, that number increased to 125 in the 4th quarter of 2015.
  2. The number of condemned and vacant buildings (CVBs) also increased from the 3rd quarter to the 4th quarter of 2015. However, this was a very slight increase from 531 to 535. That’s about 0.8 percent. But there were still 535 CVBs in the 4th quarter of 2015.
  3. Average weekly wages dropped on average across all industries from $1,445 to $1,255. However, it should be noted that average weekly wages have been steadily increasing in Minneapolis since 2006. So although average weekly wages dropped from 1st quarter of 2015 to the 2nd quarter of 2015 (this category is two quarters behind in data), the trend is still positive. See Figure 1.

Ugly News:

  1. Foreclosures also increased in the 4th and 5th Wards by about 24 and 25 percent, respectively. In addition, foreclosures are mostly clustered and centered in the southern part of the 4th ward and the northern part of the 5th Ward.
  2. A vast majority of the CVBs were clustered in the 4th and 5th Wards in North Minneapolis. Again, CVBs, the same as foreclosures, tend to be clustered and centered in the southern part of the 4th Ward and the northern part of the 5th Ward.
  3. Unfortunately, the Minneapolis Trends Report does not distinguish the average weekly wages between the city of Minneapolis and its respective wards. However, utilizing a little bit of deductive logic and knowledge from past articles (education and unemployment levels), then it ought to make sense to assume that the average weekly wages in some parts of North Minneapolis would be lower than the rest of Minneapolis. However, data would confirm or deny this assumption.

There is obviously a lot more data and information in this most recent Minneapolis Trends report to explore and analyze. As the readers of this blog understand very well, the data and information will be optimized for systems analyses of Urban Dynamics in forthcoming articles along with lots and lots of questions.

**Remember, there is nothing more American than discourse. You are always welcome to post your comments, thoughts, and questions below. Feedback is always appreciated!

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