Minnesota business indicators slowed in third quarter

Business and economic indicators in Minnesota slowed in the third quarter of 2014, although most of the state still shows yearly growth, according to reports released Friday.

The third quarter reports were prepared by the St. Cloud State University School of Public Affairs Research Institute, in partnership with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State.

Said King Banian, the former legislator who is interim dean of St. Cloud’s School of Public Affairs ad co-authored the report:

“The third quarter seemed to be a lull for economic activity in Minnesota. We are not concerned about this, however, as there was good momentum in the first half of 2014 and early signs for the fourth quarter also appear positive. Low commodity prices may have dented economic growth in greater Minnesota, but gas prices may lead to better sales on Main Street.”

Each region saw a decrease in the unemployment rate, the report said.

Officials provided a summary of each region’s results and outlook:

Twin Cities
Twin Cities business conditions are expected to remain solid over the next several months, according to a variety of economic indicators. The Twin Cities Index of Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) fell by 0.92 points in the third quarter but remains 6.1 percent higher than it was last year.

There were 9,223 new business filings with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State in the seven-county metro area in the third quarter of 2014—representing a 2.0 percent decline from one year ago.

Employment increased by 1.8 percent over the year ending September 2014. The regional unemployment rate was 3.6 percent in September, an improvement on its 4.6 percent reading one year ago.

Central
Central Minnesota business conditions will remain solid over the next several months, according to a variety of economic indicators. While the Central Minnesota LEI declined slightly in the third quarter, the abundance of regional evidence points to continued economic strength.

There were 1,217 new business filings with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State in Central Minnesota in the third quarter of 2014 — representing a 5.4 percent decline from one year ago.

Central Minnesota employment was 1.4 percent higher in September 2014 than it was one year earlier. Compared to one year ago, 4,884 more residents of Central Minnesota now have jobs. The regional unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in September 2014, well below the 4.6 percent rate reported one year ago.

Northeast
Northeast Minnesota business conditions are expected to remain steady over the next several months, according to a variety of economic indicators. Despite a decline in the Northeast Minnesota LEI in the third quarter, the level of the LEI is considerably above its 2013 value. Data from the Duluth/Superior Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) show strong economic conditions in Northeast Minnesota’s largest market.

There were 472 new business filings with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State in Northeast Minnesota in the third quarter of 2014 — representing a 12.4 percent improvement from one year ago.

Northeast Minnesota employment was 0.5 percent higher than year earlier levels in September. The regional unemployment rate fell to 4.5 percent as the Northeast Minnesota labor force experienced a 0.7 percent annual decline.

Northwest
Northwest Minnesota business conditions are expected to improve over the next several months, according to a variety of economic indicators. The Northwest Minnesota LEI increased 1.46 points in the third quarter and it now stands 2.5 percent above its level one year ago.

There were 894 new business filings with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State in Northwest Minnesota in the third quarter of 2014—representing no change from one year ago.

Employment of Northwest Minnesota residents increased by 0.8 percent over the year ending September 2014. The regional unemployment rate was 3.6 percent in September, an improvement on its 4.4 percent reading one year ago.

Southeast
Southeast Minnesota business conditions are expected to remain steady over the next several months, according to a variety of economic indicators. Despite a small decline in the Southeast Minnesota LEI in the third quarter, the level of the LEI is well above its 2013 value.

There were 765 new business filings with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State in Southeast Minnesota in the third quarter of 2014 — representing a 9.9 percent decline from one year ago.

Employment of Southeast Minnesota residents increased by 0.9 percent over the year ending September 2014. Compared to September 2013, nearly 2,500 more residents now have jobs. The regional unemployment rate was 3.3 percent in September, an improvement from 4.2 percent in the year earlier period.

Southwest
Southwest Minnesota business conditions are expected to slow over the next several months, according to various economic indicators. The Southwest Minnesota LEI decreased by 4.16 points in the third quarter of 2014 and is now 1.4 percent lower than one year ago.

There were 565 new business filings with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State in Southwest Minnesota in the third quarter of 2014 — representing 12.1 percent more new filings than one year ago.

Employment of Southwest Minnesota residents increased by 0.5 percent over the year ending September 2014. One thousand sixty-one more Southwestern Minnesotans have jobs than one year ago. The regional unemployment rate was 3.2 percent in September, an improvement on its 3.9 percent reading in September 2013.

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