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Latest statistics show job recovery in areas of west central Minnesota
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news Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

Like much of the rest of the state and nation, west central Minnesota’s economy suffered job declines during the Great Recession, from 2007 to 2010, before seeing a job recovery in 2011.

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Following is a rundown of industry statistics for Kandiyohi and other regional counties as released in economic profiles by Cameron Macht, regional labor market analyst for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Kandiyohi County

Through 2011, Kandiyohi County was home to 1,366 business establishments providing 22,320 covered jobs, with a total annual payroll of $734 million and average annual wages of $32,864, according to data from DEED’s Quarterly of Census of Employment and Wages program.

All establishments covered under the Unemployment Insurance Program are required to report wage and employment statistics quarterly to DEED. Federal government establishments are also covered by the QCEW program. That made Kandiyohi County the 17th largest county in the state in terms of covered jobs, despite being the 23rd largest in population.

In addition to covered employment, Kandiyohi County also had 2,976 non-employer establishments in 2009 as well as 1,386 farms in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Census of Agriculture. These operations are not covered by DEED’s QCEW program, but are still vital components of Kandiyohi County’s broad and diverse economy.

In fact, agriculture is a major strength of Kandiyohi County’s economy, ranking highly in the state and the nation for the value of agricultural products sold.

Kandiyohi County gained 18 net new business establishments in 2011, along with 204 net new covered jobs. However, that 0.9 percent increase in covered employment was about half of the 1.6 percent gain experienced statewide from 2010 to 2011.

Kandiyohi County’s economy was relatively diverse, with employment spread across several industries. The largest industry in the county was health care and social assistance, followed by manufacturing, retail trade, educational services, accommodation and food services, and construction.

In Kandiyohi County, health care and social assistance, with 125 establishments, provided 5,583 covered jobs, which accounted for 25 percent of total covered employment in the county.

With 3,122 jobs at 74 firms, manufacturing was the second largest employing industry in Kandiyohi County, accounting for 14 percent of the county’s total employment. That was about 2.5 percent higher than the state concentration, where 11.6 percent of jobs were in the manufacturing industry.

Much of that is due to Kandiyohi County’s strength in food manufacturing, which with 1,956 jobs at 12 manufacturers accounted for almost two-thirds (62.7 percent) of total manufacturing employment in the county.

Other important manufacturing sectors in Kandiyohi County include fabricated metal product manufacturing (which includes machine shops); plastics and rubber product manufacturing; nonmetallic mineral product manufacturing (which includes cement and concrete products); chemical manufacturing (which includes agricultural chemical and ethanol production); and printing and related support activities.

Kandiyohi County also has smaller amounts of employment in miscellaneous manufacturing (which ranges from medical device manufacturing to sign manufacturing and wood product manufacturing.

Renville County

Through the end of 2009, Renville County was home to 622 business establishments with 5,743 covered jobs, with a total payroll of $182.5 million and average annual wages of $31,668, according to data from DEED’s QCEW program.

In addition to covered employment, Renville County also had 1,081 non-employer establishments in 2008 as well as 1,119 farms in 2007.

Renville County businesses reported 359 fewer jobs in 2009 than in 2008, a nearly -6.0 percent decline.

Of the 10 main industry domains with employment in Renville County, only two added jobs between 2008 and 2009: professional and business services, which gained 7 net new jobs; and trade, transportation, and utilities, which added 5 jobs. Not surprisingly, manufacturing saw the biggest and fastest decline in jobs, losing 272 jobs from 2008 to 2009, a -23.4 percent drop.

Two-thirds of Renville County’s employment exists in three domains: education and health services; trade, transportation, and utilities; and manufacturing.

The largest employing domain in Renville County is education and health care services, with 1,634 jobs at 51 establishments, which accounted for 28.5 percent of total covered employment in the county.

Of those, just over 400 jobs were in educational services — primarily at elementary and secondary schools — and the remaining 1,200 were in health care and social assistance — including 885 jobs at nursing and residential care facilities, 132 jobs at the hospital, and 128 jobs in social assistance.

The hospital gained 7 net new jobs from 2008 to 2009, and wages increased 11.9 percent. Social assistance lost 18 jobs, but had a location quotient of 3.8, meaning that it was much more strongly concentrated in Renville County than the state as a whole.

The next largest domain was trade, transportation, and utilities, with 1,185 jobs at 178 firms; comprising 20.6 percent of the county’s employment. The largest sectors were transportation and warehousing, which had 69 firms and 435 jobs; retail trade, which had 430 jobs at 64 firms; and wholesale trade, which had 43 firms and 311 jobs.

The largest sector in transportation was truck transportation, which had 55 firms providing 322 jobs, despite losing 53 jobs from 2008 to 2009.

Meeker County

Through 2010, Meeker County was home to 595 business establishments providing 6,466 covered jobs, with a total annual payroll of $199.2 million and average annual wages of $30,784, according to data from DEED’s QCEW program.

Just over 80 percent of Meeker County’s covered employment is in the private sector (81.0 percent), with 5,238 jobs at 541 private business establishments. The remaining 20 percent of covered employment is in the public sector, including 1,227 jobs at 54 government organizations.

In addition to covered employment, Meeker County also had 1,608 non-employer establishments in 2009 as well as 1,146 farms in 2007. These operations are not covered by DEED’s QCEW program, but are still vital components of Meeker County’s economy, contributing hundreds of millions of dollars to the county. In fact, Meeker County ranked 27th in the state in the total value of agricultural products sold in 2007, with just over $204 million in sales.

The county endured a net loss of 45 business establishments and 405 covered jobs from 2007 to 2010. Unfortunately, that -5.9 percent decrease in covered employment was more severe than the -4.8 percent drop experienced statewide from 2007 to 2010. Both the public sector (-59 jobs, a -4.6 percent decline) and the private sector (-347 jobs, a -6.2 percent decline) saw significant job cuts during the recession, with total employment falling from 6,871 covered jobs in 2007.

The largest employing industry in Meeker County was education and health services, with 56 establishments providing 1,669 jobs, accounting for 25.8 percent of total employment.

QCEW data from 2009 show that the largest sector was health care and social assistance in Meeker County, with 35 firms and 1,107 covered jobs. Within health care, the largest employing sector in Meeker County was nursing and residential care facilities, which had 659 jobs at 12 establishments after gaining almost 50 jobs since 2007.

Educational services had 523 jobs at 16 public elementary and secondary schools, including 278 jobs in the city of Litchfield, 127 jobs in Eden Valley, and 45 jobs in Dassel.

Trade, transportation, and utilities was the next largest industry, with 1,370 jobs at 144 establishments, accounting for 21.2 percent of total employment in the county. Retail trade is the largest sector in the county, with 701 jobs at 67 stores. In Meeker County retailers added 99 jobs, a welcome 16.4 percent gain. Manufacturing is the third largest employing industry in Meeker County, providing 1,266 covered jobs at 57 establishments, comprising 19.6 percent of total employment. manufacturing cut 110 jobs from 2007 to 2010, an -8.0 percent declinePublic administration is the next largest industry, with 427 jobs at 24 establishments, and gained 8 jobs during the recession. Just under 85 percent of the county’s public administration jobs are located in Litchfield, with 359 jobs at 13 establishments.

Unlike retail trade, accommodation and food services lost jobs in Meeker County during the recession, losing 75 jobs from 2007 to 2010, a -16.5 percent decline.

Chippewa and Yellow Medicine counties

Through the third quarter of 2010, Chippewa County was home to 446 business establishments with 5,540 covered jobs, with a quarterly payroll of $42.7 million and average annual wages of $30,784, according to data from DEED’s QCEW program.

Just under 1,000 jobs in the county were in the public sector, while the remaining 4,600 jobs were in the private sector. About 17.7 percent of jobs were in government. While the private sector lost 386 jobs from the 3rd quarter of 2007 to the 3rd quarter of 2010, the government sector gained 11 jobs.

Chippewa County saw a decline in employment from the 3rd quarter of 2007 to the 3rd quarter of 2010, losing 375 covered jobs during the recession. That was a -6.3 percent job decline, coupled with a loss of 21 fewer business establishments. Of the 16 main industries in Chippewa County, nine of them saw employment losses from the 3rd quarter of 2007 to the 3rd quarter of 2010. Just four industries saw net new jobs during the recession, including health care and social assistance, wholesale trade, retail trade, and finance and insurance.

The largest employing industry in Chippewa County was manufacturing, with 1,096 jobs at 31 firms; comprising 19.8 percent of the county’s employment. The largest sectors were food manufacturing, computer and electronic product manufacturing, fabricated metal product manufacturing, printing and related support activities, and machinery manufacturing. The related transportation and warehousing industry had 27 firms and 152 covered jobs. Both industries had higher than average wages, at $40,196 and $33,956, respectively.

The next largest industry was likely health care and social assistance, though data from the third quarter of 2010 was not discloseable via the QCEW program. However, in 2008, Chippewa County had 39 health care and social assistance firms providing 1,091 covered jobs, which accounted for 19.7 percent of total covered employment in the county.

Retail trade is the next largest sector, with 653 jobs at 60 firms, adding 23 net new jobs from 2007 to 20010, a 3.7 percent increase. The largest retail subsector in the county is food and beverage stores, gas stations, and motor vehicle parts and dealers; as well as smaller locations for building material and garden supply stores, miscellaneous store retailers, and health and personal care stores. Just under half (45.3%) of retail trade jobs in Chippewa County are located in Montevideo.

Yellow Medicine County has 349 business establishments providing 4,323 covered jobs in the 3rd quarter of 2010, with average annual wages of $31,668. Yellow Medicine County saw a much smaller decline in employment from the 3rd quarter of 2007 to the 3rd quarter of 2010, losing 170 covered jobs during the recession. That was a -3.8 percent decline. Of the 16 main industries in Yellow Medicine County, seven of them saw employment losses from the 3rd quarter of 2007 to the 3rd quarter of 2010. Five industries gained net new jobs during the recession, including wholesale trade, other services, health care and social assistance, information, and real estate, rental and leasing.

The largest employing industry in Yellow Medicine County was likely health care and social assistance, though data from the third quarter of 2010 was not discloseable via the QCEW program. Yellow Medicine County had 29 health care and social assistance firms providing 1,068 covered jobs in 2008, which would account for 24.7 percent of total covered employment in the county. The largest sector in health care was nursing and residential care facilities, which had 330 jobs at 5 homes in the county. Government-run hospitals had 248 jobs in the third quarter of 2010, and ambulatory health care services had 81 jobs at 12 private-sector providers. Health care saw small gains in employment over the last three years, across all sectors.

The next largest industry was retail trade, with 348 jobs at 43 firms, which was about 8 percent of total employment. Both Canby and Granite Falls had around 140 retail trade jobs, meaning that 82.5 percent of the county’s retail jobs were in those two cities. As consumers cut back during the recession, retail trade saw a small job decline from 2007 to 2010.

Yellow Medicine County’s next largest industry was arts, entertainment, and recreation; with 336 jobs at 2 firms, which was 7.8 percent of total employment. That made it a distinguishing industry for the county, as arts, entertainment, and recreation comprises just 2.1 percent of statewide employment. The related accommodation and food services industry also provided 190 jobs at 21 firms in Yellow Medicine County, after holding steady during the recession.

Source: Cameron Macht, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

Data not readily available for all regional counties.

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