Employment and Local Economic Trends Analysis

While many factors influence the need for housing, employment opportunities represent a predominant demand generator. Without jobs and corresponding wages, the means to afford housing is severely limited.

Employment opportunities may be provided by a broad range of private and public business sectors. Jobs may be available in manufacturing, commercial services, agriculture, public administration, and other industries. The type of employment, wage level, and working conditions will each influence the kind of housing that is needed and at what level of affordability.

Major employers in Aitkin County with more than 70 employees include:

            ►          Riverwood Health Care Center, Aitkin - 296 employees

            ►          Aitkin County, Aitkin - 267 employees

            ►          Aitkin Public Schools, Aitkin - 190 employees

            ►          McGregor Public Schools, McGregor - 137 employees

            ►          Aicota Health Care Center, Aitkin - 120 employees

            ►          Aitkin Iron Works, Inc., Aitkin - 75 employees

            ►          Woodland Container, Inc., Aitkin - 75 employees

            ►          Floe International & Hoyt McGregor Payroll - 72 employees

Source: Community Profiles, MN Department of Trade and Economic Development

Work Force and Unemployment Rates

Employment information is only available at the County level or for large cities. Unless otherwise noted, all data in the following tables presents information for all of Aitkin County. Data in the following tables have been obtained from the Minnesota Department of Economic Security.


Table 1 Aitkin County Average Annual Labor Force 1990-2001

 


Year

Labor Force

Employed

Unemployed

Unemployment Rate

Unemployment Rate - MN

Unemployment Rate - US

 

1990

5,194

4,636

559

10.8%

4.9%

5.5%

 

1991

5,279

4,687

592

11.2%

5.1%

6.7%

 

1992

5,253

4,619

635

12.1%

5.2%

7.4%

 

1993

5,521

4,839

682

12.4%

5.1%

6.8%

 

1994

5,727

5,136

590

10.3%

4.0%

6.1%

 

1995

5,720

5,185

535

9.4%

3.7%

5.6%

 

1996

5,899

5,327

573

9.7%

4.0%

5.4%

 

1997

6,054

5,544

510

8.4%

3.3%

4.9%

 

1998

5,938

5,492

447

7.5%

2.5%

4.5%

 

1999

6,064

5,617

448

7.4%

2.8%

4.2%

 

2000

6,153

5,657

497

8.1%

2.7%

4.0%

 

 2001

6,362

5,909

453

7.1%

3.6%

4.8%

 

Source: Minnesota Department of Economic Security

►          Aitkin County has seen growth in the labor force and in the level of employment since 1990 (Table 1). From 1990 through 2001, the last full year of data, the available labor force increased by more than 22%, and the employed labor force has increased by more than 27%. During this time, the unemployment rate dropped from 10.8% to 7.1%.

►          During the 1990s, the unemployment rate was consistently higher than the national average. After rising from 1990 to 1993, the unemployment rate decreased for the middle of the decade, reaching a low of 7.1% in 2001.

►          Although the County’s unemployment rate was nearly double the Minnesota rate in 2001, the County’s unemployment rate dropped between 2000 and 2001, which both the State and national rate increased during the last year.


Employment by Industry:

Table 2 below identifies the make up of the employed workforce by industry. It is important to note that County data in Tables 2 and 3 reflect data obtained from employers covered under the Minnesota unemployment compensation tax law. Approximately 97 percent of the total nonagricultural wage and salary employment in Minnesota is included in the data. Major groups excluded from the data are self-employed workers and farms with four or less employees in a 20 week period. The most recent year of data by industry detail is for 1999.

Table 2 Aitkin County Employment by Industry Detail

Industry

1990 Employment

2000 Employment

Numeric Change 1990-2000

Percentage Change 1990-2000

Total All Industry

2,801

3,857

1,056

37.7%

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, Mining

46

47

1

2.2%

Construction

84

237

153

182.1%

Manufacturing

321

578

257

80.1%

Transportation, Public Utilities

103

172

69

67.0%

Wholesale Trade

93

68

-25

-26.9%

Retail Trade

743

968

225

30.3%

Finance, Insurance, Real Estate

109

115

6

5.5%

Services

647

804

157

24.3%

Government

655

858

203

31.0%

Source: Research and Statistics Office, Minnesota Department of Economic Security

 ►          Nearly all major employment sectors experienced job increases between 1990 and 2000, the last full year of data available. The only exception was wholesale trade, which experienced a 26.9% decrease in reported employment.

►          The largest numeric gains in employment between 1990 and 2000 were in the Manufacturing, Retail Trade, and Government sectors.

►          Construction, Manufacturing and Transportation/Public Utilities all had percentage increases of more than 50% from 1990 to 2000.


Wages by Industry:

The following table shows the growth of average annual wages by employment sector between 1990 and 2000, the last full year of data.

Table 3 Aitkin County Annual Wages by Industry Detail

Industry

1990 Average Annual Wages

2000 Average Annual Wages

% Change

1990-2000

Total All Industry

$14,876

$20,482

37.7%

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, Mining

$11,369

$14,866

30.8%

Construction

$21,611

$27,564

27.5%

Manufacturing

$16,087

$24,079

49.7%

Transportation, Public Utilities

$24,510

$29,138

18.9%

Wholesale Trade

$16,938

$28,078

65.8%

Retail Trade

$8,841

$13,047

47.6%

Finance, Insurance, Real Estate

$16,145

$24,281

50.4%

Services

$12,763

$19,984

56.6%%

Government

$20,579

$26,813

30.3%

Source: Research and Statistics Office, Minnesota Department of Economic Security

►          The average annual wage for all industry in 2000 was $20,482.

►          Between 1990 and 2000, average wages for all employees increased by nearly 38%.

►          Two of the County’s largest three employment sectors, Retail Trade and Services, paid average annual wages well below the overall average for all industry. The second and fourth largest employment sectors, Government and Manufacturing, all paid average wages above the overall average.

►          The largest percentage gains in wages occurred in the Wholesale Trade, Services, Finance/Insurance/Real Estate, and Manufacturing sectors.


Employment Projections:

The State of Minnesota has developed employment projections for each region of the State. The projections presented here are for Northeast Minnesota between 1996 and 2006. Information is presented for Northeast Minnesota in 1996, and projected percentage changes in the region by 2006.

Table 4 Projected Employment by Industry Detail
1996-2006



Industry

Northeast Minnesota

Estimated Employment 1996

Projected Employment 2006

Percentage Change 1996-2006

Total All Industry

146,386

165,286

13%

Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing

1,738

1,636

-6%

Mining

6,089

5,915

-3%

Construction

5,014

5,563

11%

Manufacturing

13,933

15,449

11%

Transportation, Public Utilities

6,792

7,585

12%

Wholesale Trade

4,568

5,700

25%

Retail Trade

28,522

31,741

11%

Finance, Insurance, Real Estate

4,186

4,444

6%

Services

51,020

61,868

21%

Government

14,067

14,176

1%

Self-Employed, Unpaid Family Workers - Non Agriculture

10,457

11,209

7%

Source: Research and Statistics Office, Minnesota Department of Economic Security

►          The State projects that by 2006, the largest percentage employment gains in Northeast Minnesota will occur in the Wholesale Trade and Services sectors.

►          The only industry sectors that are expected to see net employment losses are the Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing sector, with an anticipated employment loss of 6%, and Mining, with an anticipated employment loss of 3%. These projections were created in the late 1990s, and pre-date the recent employment losses in the Mining sector in the Mesabi Range.