Strong economic growth is expected over the next several months in the Twin Cities according to the prediction of the St. Cloud State University Twin Cities Index of Leading Economic Indicators (LEI). The Twin Cities LEI rose 8.86 points in the fourth quarter after a weak reading in the previous quarter. Four of the five index components increased in the fourth quarter. Slightly higher initial claims for unemployment insurance were the only index component that had a negative impact on this quarter’s LEI. Strength in two general measures of statewide business conditions had a positive effect on the index. Higher residential building permits in the Twin Cities MSA and increased new filings of business incorporation and LLC also helped lift the Twin Cities LEI.
There were 9,315 new business filings with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State in the seven-county metro area in the fourth quarter of 2016—representing a 3.3 percent increase from one year ago. There were 1,333 new regional business incorporations in the fourth quarter, 0.8 fewer than year ago levels. Fourth quarter new LLC filings rose to 5,784 in the seven-county metro area—a 6.3 percent increase compared to the fourth quarter of 2015. New assumed names totaled 1,800 in the fourth quarter. This was 2 percent lower than one year ago. There were 398 new filings for non-profit in the Twin Cities in the fourth quarter of 2016, 1.3 percent more filings than one year earlier.
Based on preliminary data, Twin Cities planning area employment decreased by 1.5 percent over the year ending December 2016. At 3.4 percent, the planning area’s unemployment rate was considerably higher than one year earlier. Initial claims for unemployment insurance were lower than year ago levels, falling by 7.2 percent to 10,861. The average weekly wage in the Twin Cities planning area was $1,117 in the most recent reporting period. This was $18 (1.6%) more than one year earlier. The planning area labor force contracted by 1.1 percent over the year ending in December 2016. Annual bankruptcies continued to decline in the Twin Cities over the past twelve months. Average weekly hours and average hourly earnings were both higher in the metro area and the relative cost of living declined.
MacDonald, Richard A. and Banaian, King, "Twin Cities Economic and Business Conditions Report - Fourth Quarter 2016" (2017). Twin Cities Minnesota Economic and Business Conditions Report. 12.