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Workforce Statistics

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A vibrant and growing workforce

From 2013 to 2018, The Greater MSP region’s labor force has grown by 6.2% - larger than the 4.3% increase seen nationally during the same period.


Labor Force Statistics

Greater MSP has a positive track record--and is poised to continue that growth in the coming years. Home to a labor pool of 2.0 million and the highest labor force participation rate for a large metro at 72%.

Indicator Greater MSP Minnesota United States
Labor Force 2,005,655 3,098,356 161,926,000
Employment 2,028,800 3,011,239 155,962,000
Unemployment 44,151 87,117 5,964,000
Annualized Unemployment Rate (2018) 2.8% 3.0% 3.9%
Labor Force Participation Rate 72.0% 70.1% 62.7%

Source: Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (seasonally adjusted, except for Greater MSP metro statistics), October 2018. Metro area LFPR from U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey 2017 1-Year Estimates.

Wages and Job Availability

The region has an above-average concentration of employees in some of the most in-demand occupational categories, including brokerage clerks, CNC tool programmers and operators, machinists, computer systems analysts, industrial engineers, and marketing managers. Better yet, Greater MSP wages for these in-demand and specialized occupations are competitive with the national average.

Key Industry and Occupational Strengths

Employment in the jobs that support key industry sectors are growing.

Top occupations have grown by 6.6% between 2011-2016
Finance & Insurance
Top occupations have grown by 5.9% between 2011-2016
Computer & IT
Top occupations have grown by 5.8% between 2011-2016

A Thriving Destination

Greater MSP is a popular haven for skilled foreign workers seeking employment.

  • 4,200 Annual H1-B visa requests — a leader among the largest U.S. metros
  • 80% of H1-B visa requests are for STEM occupations, particularly computer engineers
  • 11,600 foreign students live in Greater MSP — University of MN-Twin Cities is the most popular destination
  • Over 1.2M residents of Greater MSP are from a different U.S. state or country (2013 U.S. Census)
    • 29% came from another country
    • 71% came from another state — top three metro regions are Chicago, NYC and Phoenix


Minnesota State will partner to customize or create new training tailored to your workforce, your timeline, your industry, or your business plan. Examples of past training programs cover a diverse range of specialties, including environmental safety compliance, computer programming, ISO certification, manufacturing technology, and quality assessment/management.

See the topics that are listed on Minnesota State's website: 

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View a guide to business services offered by Minnesota State, as well as contact information: 

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