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Job openings in greater Minnesota up but hours, wages lacking

The number of jobs available in Minnesota counties outside the Twin Cities area is at an eight-year high. But some analysts are serving up a grain of salt with that seemingly cheery news. The Jobs Now Coalition notes that barely half the jobs are full-time and the median hourly wage is barely ten dollars -- not quite enough to live on.
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By some measures, Minnesota's economic news is bright. The number of jobs available in greater Minnesota, for example, is at its highest level in eight years. But numbers that might look sunny on the surface sometimes obscure lingering storm clouds.

The Jobs Now Coalition points out to the Mankato Free Press that barely half of those openings are full time, that the median wage is barely $10 an hour, and that the majority of the positions do not include health insurance. A Mankato Salvation Army caseworker tells the Free Press that three-fourths of the Army's clientele have jobs.

The Coalition has a fact sheet on outstate job vacancies, which includes the tidbit that job seekers outnumber full-time openings by a ratio of five to one.

On the other hand, the Department of Employment and Economic Development notes that participation in the labor force was over 70 percent in August, which is the highest level in nearly 30 years.

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