Tue, Jun 7, 2022 2:00 PM
By Mary Stroka, The Center Square
The Department of Employment and Economic Development announced Tuesday it is kicking off a campaign to connect employers and job seekers to address both historically low unemployment rates and record-high job openings.
The department released its findings in the fourth quarter 2021 Job Vacancy Survey.
It found that there were more than 214,000 job openings in the North Star state in the fourth quarter of 2021, up 68% over the fourth quarter of 2020 and up 56% compared with the fourth quarter of 2018, a news release said. Minnesota employers continue to add jobs while the number of unemployed workers decreases, the release said.
Minnesota’s April 2022 labor force participation rate, 68.3%, exceeded the national average, 62.2%, that month. It was 70.8% in February 2020, the month before the COVID-19 pandemic swept throughout the United States.
The “Summer of Jobs” statewide campaign, which begins the week of June 13, will include job shadowing for some of the state’s best-paying jobs in demand, which include opportunities in manufacturing, health care and technology.
The state will share best practices and opportunities for employers to find talent from groups of individuals that may be overlooked, such as immigrant communities, individuals with disabilities and people recently released from correctional facilities.
“This unprecedented number of job openings is another sign that Minnesota’s economy is strong,” DEED Commissioner Steve Grove said. “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.”
In the fourth quarter of 2021, there were fewer than 93,000 unemployed workers in the state (0.4 per vacancy), which is the lowest ratio ever recorded, the release said.
In 2021, health care and social assistance had 24% of job vacancies, with an increase of nearly 20,500 over the year. Wage offers grew 7.3% from the fourth quarter of 2021. For every 100 filled jobs, there were 10.8 vacancies in health care as of the fourth quarter of 2021, compared with 8.3 in the second quarter of that year.
Retail trade had nearly 19% of total openings. Median wages increased nearly 12% over the same quarter of 2020.
Accommodation and food services, which had 15% of vacancies, had slightly fewer openings compared with the record level of vacancies in summer 2021. Wages increased 22% over the year.
Demand was highest for food preparation and serving workers (nearly 33,000), though that decreased slightly from the second quarter of 2021. Sales and related jobs peaked at 26,800, an increase of a few hundred since the second quarter of 2021. Those occupational groups accounted for 28% of job openings in Minnesota. Health care support and health care practitioners and technical occupations also set vacancies records (around 19,000 vacancies apiece).
Farming, Fishing & Forestry, Personal Care & Service, and Business & Financial Operations occupations all increased more than 225% while vacancies in Food Prep & Serving, Architecture & Engineering, Life, Physical & Social Science and Legal occupations more than doubled over the year.
Only protective services decreased (15% drop).
Median wages hit $18.09, with a premium for workers with experience. Median wage offers were up 9%, beating a 6.9% increase in the Consumer Price Index measure of inflation.
The report also found that 30% of vacancies are part-time employment. Temporary or seasonal work was 6% of vacancies, which is a historical low. Employers are seeking to offer more permanent positions to attract workers, the release said.
Overall, employers are decreasing educational requirements and increasing work experience requirements for vacancies. About one-third of vacancies require some level of post-secondary education or training, and about half of vacancies require at least one year of work experience.