Central Minnesota business conditions are expected to improve over the next several months according to the predictions of the St. Cloud State University (SCSU) Central Minnesota Index of Leading Economic Indicators. The leading economic indicator index (LEI) improved in the second quarter as improvements in durable goods orders, additional new business incorporations, and strength in a general measure of state business conditions helped drive the LEI higher. The SCSU Central Minnesota Index of Leading Economic Indicators is now 7.95 percent higher than one year ago.
There were 1,370 new business filings with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State in Central Minnesota in the second quarter of 2014 — representing a 6.0 percent decline from one year ago. There were 151 new regional business incorporations in the first second quarter, a 4.4 percent reduction from year ago levels. Over the past 12 months, new limited liability company (LLC) filings in Central Minnesota decreased by 1.8 percent—declining to 762 in the second quarter of 2014. New assumed names totalled 385 in this year’s second quarter—a reduction of 11.1 percent from the second quarter of 2013. There were 42 new filings for Central Minnesota non-profits in the second quarter—15 fewer filings than one year ago.
Central Minnesota employment was 1.7 percent higher in June 2014 than it was one year earlier. Compared to one year ago, 6,134 more residents of Central Minnesota now have jobs. The regional unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in June 2014, well below the 5.5 percent rate reported one year ago. Initial claims for unemployment insurance have steadily declined since March and are little changed from their level in June 2013. The Central Minnesota labor force continues to grow and average weekly wages in the planning area were little changed from the year earlier period.
Data from the St. Cloud area showed strength in the largest market in the Central Minnesota planning area. Overall job growth was up 2.8 percent over the year ending June 2014 and the St. Cloud unemployment rate fell to 4.5 percent. St. Cloud area businesses reported worker shortages as 37 percent of surveyed firms expect increased difficulty attracting qualified workers over the next six months.
MacDonald, Richard A. and Banaian, King, "Central Minnesota Economic and Business Conditions Report, Second Quarter 2014" (2014). Central Minnesota Economic and Business Conditions Report. 2.