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Record Number of Job Vacancies Top 205,000 in Q2 2021

Vacancies are up 84% from same quarter last year; up 40% from previous record in 2019


November 1, 2021

St. Paul – Job openings in Minnesota soared to a record high in the second quarter of 2021 as demand for workers greatly outpaced hiring. As the state’s economy continues to recover from the pandemic recession, employers in Minnesota reported more than 205,000 vacancies according to figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

This was an 84% increase compared to the second quarter of 2020, and a 40% increase compared to the second quarter of 2019, prior to the pandemic. In contrast, the number of unemployed workers is down 59% compared to the second quarter of 2020, and up only 33% compared to the second quarter of 2019.

DEED’s biannual Job Vacancy Survey found that the state had 0.6 unemployed people for every job vacancy in the second quarter of 2021, returning to the tight labor market conditions of the three years immediately prior to the pandemic. The current unprecedented conditions are due in part to workers dropping out of the labor force over the past year due to COVID concerns or other pandemic-related pressures. The current labor market situation is also unique because it is the first time on record that job vacancies have increased during a recessionary period.

“DEED is laser-focused on connecting people who need work with the Minnesota employers who need them now,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “We have transformed our model for helping job seekers, proactively reaching out to over 100,000 Minnesotans receiving unemployment benefits over the past seven months to let them know about the many employment opportunities available. And our new Build What Matters campaign is targeting out-of-state workers to entice them to come build the next chapter of our economy right here in Minnesota.”

The seven-county Twin Cities metro had just over 119,500 job vacancies (58% of the statewide total), while Greater Minnesota had 86,000 vacancies. Job vacancies in the Twin Cities were up 81% compared to 2020 while job vacancies in Greater Minnesota were up 88% over the year. Both the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota had 0.6 job seekers per vacancy.

Like in past surveys, the Health Care and Social Assistance industry had the most job vacancies overall with nearly 40,000 openings, accounting for nearly 20% of total vacancies. Accommodation and Food Services and Retail Trade spiked to record vacancy levels, with both posting more than 36,000 openings during a busy summer season. Twelve of the 20 industries in the state set new vacancy records in the second quarter of 2021.

At the occupation level, demand was highest for Food Preparation and Serving workers, with more than 35,000 vacancies, which was up 163% compared to the second quarter of 2020, when many of these workers were laid off. Likewise, the bounce back in Retail Trade led to nearly 26,500 vacancies in Sales & Related Occupations, an 84% increase over last year. Combined, those two occupational groups accounted for 30% of all openings in the state.

Demand for Healthcare Support occupations – including Home Health & Personal Care Aides, Nursing Assistants, and Medical Assistants – remained high with more than 17,000 vacancies, while there were almost 14,000 openings for Healthcare Practitioners & Technical occupations, including Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses, and Medical & Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians.

Other occupational groups that saw significant demand and notable increases in vacancies over the year include Transportation & Material Moving, Office & Administrative Support, Building & Grounds Cleaning & Maintenance, and Management occupations. Vacancies more than tripled over the year for three occupational groups: Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, & Media; Production, and Business & Financial Operations occupations.

The dollar amount of median wage offers was up 4.3% from one year ago, showing that employers are raising wages to attract workers. While wage offers jumped the most in some of the highest paying vacancies, wage offers also increased faster than average for lower-paying occupations including a 20.5% increase for Building & Grounds Cleaning & Maintenance workers, a 14.3% increase for Transportation & Material Moving workers, an 11% increase for Farming, Fishing, & Forestry workers, and a 7.2% increase for Food Prep & Serving Related workers, though the latter is still the lowest paying occupational group overall.

The following were other findings of the study:

• Thirty-two percent of vacancies are for part-time employment. Part-time is defined as fewer than 35 hours a week.

• Eleven percent are for temporary or seasonal work

• Thirty-two percent require some level of post-secondary education or training beyond a high school diploma or equivalent. This means the majority of vacancies require no education beyond high school.

• Fifty percent require one or more years of work experience.

• Fifty-six percent of vacancies offer health insurance. Health care benefits are far less common for part-time job vacancies than full-time job vacancies, and are also less common at small- and medium-sized firms than at large firms.

Visit the DEED website for more details on the second quarter 2021 Job Vacancy Survey.

DEED conducts the Job Vacancy Survey in the second and fourth quarters each year to gauge hiring demand and to determine job vacancy characteristics by industry, occupation and firm size in Minnesota.

DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more details about the agency and its services, visit the DEED website, the website, or follow us on Twitter.


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