Northeast Minnesota business conditions are expected to improve over the next several months according to the predictions of the St. Cloud State University (SCSU) Northeast Minnesota Index of Leading Economic Indicators. The leading economic indicator index (LEI) improved in the second quarter as increases in Duluth/Superior Area (MSA) residential building permits, additional filings for new business incorporations, improvements in a general measure of state business conditions, gains in a supply managers’ survey index and lower initial jobless claims all drove the LEI higher.
There were 548 new business filings with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State in Northeast Minnesota in the second quarter of 2014 — representing a 1.7 percent improvement from one year ago. There were 52 new regional business incorporations in the second quarter, a 10.6 percent increase from 2013. Over the past 12 months, new limited liability company (LLC) filings in Northeast Minnesota declined slightly, with 255 new filings in the second quarter of 2014. New assumed names totaled 210 in this year’s second quarter — a 3.4 percent increase from the second quarter of 2013. There were 31 new filings for Northeast Minnesota nonprofits in the 2014 second quarter — one more than one year earlier.
Northeast Minnesota employment was basically unchanged from year earlier levels in June. The Northeast Minnesota unemployment rate has decreased along with the regional labor force. The regional unemployment rate in June 2014 was 5.9 percent, considerably lower than its 6.6 percent reading one year earlier. Some of this can be explained by a declining Northeast labor force. The regional labor force has shrunk by more than 3,500 people since June 2009. June 2014 initial claims for unemployment insurance were slightly lower than in June 2013 and the average weekly wage in the last quarter of 2013 was 3.2 percent higher than the similar period one year earlier.
Data from the Duluth/Superior Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) show strong economic conditions in Northeast Minnesota’s largest market. Compared to June 2013, employment is higher, the unemployment rate is lower, the average weekly work week and average hourly earnings are higher, and the value of residential building permits has expanded, all favorable signs for the Duluth/Superior MSA.
MacDonald, Richard A. and Banaian, King, "Northeast Minnesota Economic and Business Conditions Report, Second Quarter 2014" (2014). Northeast Minnesota Economic and Business Conditions Report. 2.