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Job Vacancies Reach Record High in Minnesota at 214,000 openings

DEED kicks off “Summer of Jobs” campaign to connect employers and job-seekers

 


St. Paul – Job openings in Minnesota climbed to a record high in fourth quarter 2021, surpassing 214,000 total openings even as Minnesota employers continue to add jobs, according to figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

The number of fourth quarter 2021 vacancies was up 68% compared to fourth quarter 2020, and up 56% compared to the previous fourth quarter peak hit in 2018, prior to the pandemic. While vacancies continue to increase, the number of unemployed workers continued to decrease. Although Minnesota’s labor force participation rate remains below its pre-pandemic level (68.3% in April 2022 compared to 70.8% in February 2020), it is much higher than the national average of 62.2% in April 2022. Minnesota’s economy has exhibited steady growth and unemployment rates are now at historic lows.

With today’s release of the job vacancy rates, Commissioner Grove will kick off the Summer of Jobs campaign to highlight opportunities for employers and job-seekers across Minnesota. The campaign will include job shadowing some of the best-paying in-demand jobs available in the state, to highlight opportunities in manufacturing, healthcare, technology and beyond. It will also share best practices and opportunities for employers to find talent in groups too often overlooked, such as immigrant communities, Minnesotans with disabilities, and people recently released from correctional facilities. The campaign will be statewide and kicks off next week with a focus on manufacturing.

“This unprecedented number of job openings is another sign that Minnesota’s economy is strong,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “Our Summer of Jobs campaign will connect job seekers and employers, highlighting the extraordinary opportunity that exists for those who are willing to try new approaches at a dynamic moment in our economy.”

After employers reported 205,000 vacancies in second quarter 2021, demand for workers continued to increase as employers struggle with tight labor market conditions and declining numbers of unemployed and available workers. With fewer than 93,000 unemployed workers statewide in fourth quarter 2021, there were just 0.4 unemployed persons for each vacancy, meaning that there were more than twice as many open positions as unemployed individuals in Minnesota. This is the lowest ratio on record and well down from one year ago when there were 1.1 unemployed persons for each vacancy.

The seven-county Twin Cities metro had nearly 127,000 job vacancies (59% of the statewide total), while Greater Minnesota had just over 87,000 vacancies. Job vacancies increased slightly faster (+69%) in Greater Minnesota than in the Twin Cities (+67.6%) over the year, but with both seeing smaller numbers of unemployed workers, the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota each had less than 0.5 job seekers per vacancy.

Statewide, Health Care & Social Assistance had 24% of all job vacancies with 52,340 openings, an increase of nearly 20,500 vacancies over the year, and the sector saw wage offers rise 7.3% from fourth quarter 2021. The 52,340 open positions mean that for every 100 filled jobs, there were 10.8 vacancies in the health care industry as of fourth quarter 2021, as compared to 8.3 in second quarter 2021.

With 39,630 vacancies, Retail Trade accounted for nearly 19% of total openings and saw median wage offers up nearly 12% compared to the same quarter in 2020 as employers raised offers to attract applicants. Accommodation & Food Services, accounting for 15% of vacancies, had slightly fewer openings compared to the record levels of vacancies reached in summer 2021, but saw wage offers up 22% over the year. After 12 industries set new records for vacancy levels in second quarter 2021, five of the 20 industries in the state again set new vacancy records in fourth quarter 2021.

At the occupation level, demand was highest for Food Preparation & Serving workers, with almost 33,000 vacancies, although slightly down from second quarter 2021. Sales & Related occupations, on the other hand, reached another peak at 26,800 vacancies, up just a few hundred from second quarter 2021. Combined, those two occupational groups accounted for 28% of all openings in the state.

Healthcare occupations also hit new records. Demand for Healthcare Support workers – including Home Health & Personal Care Aides, Nursing Assistants and Medical Assistants – hit a record with more than 18,000 vacancies. Healthcare Practitioners & Technical occupations, including Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical Nurses and Medical & Clinical Laboratory Technologists and Technicians, also set another record with almost 20,000 vacancies.

All occupational groups except Protective Services, which was down 15%, saw increases over the year. Other occupational groups that saw notable increases in vacancies over the year include Farming, Fishing & Forestry, Personal Care & Service, and Business & Financial Operations occupations, which all increased more than 225% over the year. Vacancies in Food Prep & Serving, Architecture & Engineering, Life, Physical & Social Science and Legal occupations all more than doubled.

The median wage offer easily hit a series high at $18.09, reflecting increases in both lower paying and higher paying occupations and a premium for workers with experience. The median wage offer was up 9% compared to a 6.7% increase in the Consumer Price Index, a measure of inflation.

Following are additional findings of the study:

Hours and Permanent/Temporary Status: 30% of all vacancies are for part-time employment, or fewer than 35 hours per week. The share of part-time vacancies, at a series low, continued to decline as employers look to better utilize their workforces, dropping from just over 40% as recently as fourth quarter 2017. Temporary or seasonal work accounts for 6% of all vacancies. This is also historically low as employers look to offer more permanent positions to attract workers.

Education and Experience Requirements: 32%of vacancies require some level of post-secondary education or training beyond a high school diploma. This means the other two-thirds of vacancies require no education beyond a high school diploma or equivalent. The percentage of job openings requiring post-secondary education has been declining due to the tight labor market, as employers look to expand their candidate pool by lowering educational requirements. Meanwhile, 50% of vacancies require one or more years of work experience, an increase over past experience requirements. The percentage of vacancies requiring work experience has been increasing over time.

Visit the DEED website for more details on the fourth 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 JoinUsMn.com website, or follow us on Twitter.

 

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