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State job vacancies soar to highest level since 2001

ST. PAUL — Job vacancies in Minnesota soared to the highest level since 2001 as they hit 88,900 in the last quarter of 2014, a 47 percent increase from the same period a year earlier, according to figures released Tuesday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

It’s another indication of Minnesota’s growing economy, said DEED, although most of the vacancies were for part-time jobs fewer than 35 hours per week.

The agency said Minnesota had 1.1 unemployed people for every vacancy in the fourth quarter. A year earlier, there were 2.1 unemployed people for every vacancy.

The fourth quarter 2014 ratio of unemployed people to vacancies was the second lowest on record. Total vacancies in the quarter were the highest since the second quarter of 2001, when the state had more than 115,000 job vacancies.

“The figures indicate the economy is growing and that companies are making more opportunities available to job seekers,” said DEED’s Labor Market Information Office Director Steve Hine. “The labor market is expected to continue tightening as more baby boomers retire and companies hunt for workers to replace them.”

The study found that 55.4 percent or 49,300 of the vacancies were in the seven-county Twin Cities. The remaining 39,600 vacancies were in Greater Minnesota. Vacancies were up 48.6 percent from a year earlier in the Twin Cities and up 45.6 percent in Greater Minnesota.

The Twin Cities now has a 1-to-1 ratio of unemployed workers to job vacancies. Greater Minnesota has 1.2 unemployed workers for every job vacancy.

Health care and social assistance led all sectors in the fourth quarter with 21 percent of the openings. Accommodation and food services had

13.4 percent of the job vacancies, followed by retail trade (12.6 percent), manufacturing (11.1 percent) and educational services  (6 percent).

The median wage offer for all job vacancies was $13.29 per hour, with 52 percent of the vacancies offering health insurance.

DEED conducts the Job Vacancy Survey in the second and fourth quarters each year to gauge hiring demand and to determine job vacancy characteristics in Minnesota.

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