Job openings surge in Minnesota

Job vacancies were up nearly 50 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011, compared with the same period a year earlier. Employers reported nearly 50,000 job openings, according to the latest figures from the Department of Employment and Economic Development.
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From the Department of Employment and Economic Development:

ST. PAUL - Job vacancies in Minnesota climbed 47.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011 compared with the same period a year earlier, according to figures released Tuesday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Employers reported 49,900 openings during the quarter, compared with 33,800 openings one year earlier.
The agency's Job Vacancy Survey - conducted twice annually in the second and fourth quarters - also found that the state had 3.2 unemployed people for each vacancy during the quarter, compared with 5.8 unemployed people for each vacancy one year earlier.

"These figures add to the mounting evidence of an improving job market in Minnesota," said DEED Commissioner Mark Phillips. "While the labor market is still tight for workers in certain sectors, overall openings statewide have nearly doubled since 2009."

Fourth-quarter job vacancies dropped 8.7 percent statewide from the second quarter of 2011 (when the survey was last conducted), but that decline can be attributed to seasonality factors. The decline was half the normal change, with job vacancies typically dropping 17.5 percent between the second and fourth quarters each year.

In the latest survey, the seven-county Twin Cities region had 29,600 job vacancies, accounting for 59 percent of all openings. Greater Minnesota had 20,300 job vacancies, or 41 percent of the openings.

Health care and social assistance had the most vacancies, followed by retail trade, accommodation and food services, and manufacturing.

Firms with 50 or more employees accounted for 58.8 percent of the vacancies, while firms with 10 to 49 workers had 29.1 percent of the openings and those with fewer than 10 workers had 12.1 percent of the total.

The agency said 42 percent of the job vacancies were for part-time employment (35 hours or fewer a week), and 13 percent of the vacancies were for temporary or seasonal work.

According to the survey, 43 percent of the openings required a college degree or some level of post-high school training. The median wage offer for all job vacancies was $10.89 an hour.

Of the employers who were surveyed, 10.9 percent said they expect to increase employment levels in the next six months. The majority of employers (83.3 percent) expect staffing levels to remain the same over the next six months, while 5.8 percent expect to decrease current employment levels. Employer sentiment about future hiring was more positive than one year earlier, when 7.8 percent of the respondents said they planned to increase hiring.

DEED conducts the Job Vacancy Survey twice a year to measure hiring demand and vacancy characteristics by industry, occupation and firm size in Minnesota. More than 10,000 firms in 20 industry sectors in Minnesota were surveyed in the latest study.

A full report can be found at www.PositivelyMinnesota.com/jvs.

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