Twin Cities economic performance is expected to improve over the next several months according to the prediction of the St. Cloud State University Twin Cities Index of Leading Economic Indicators (LEI). The Twin Cities LEI rose by 11.19 points in the first quarter, as all five index components increased. Among the factors accounting for the improved outlook is an increase in new filings for LLC and incorporation in the first quarter as well as an improvement in a general measure of statewide business conditions. Lower initial claims for unemployment insurance, an increase in the number of residential building permits in the Twin Cities MSA, and a second measure of general business conditions also made a positive contribution to the first quarter LEI.
There were 11,215 new business filings with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State in the seven-county metro area in the first quarter of 2016—representing a 6.9 percent increase from one year ago. There were 1,606 new regional business incorporations in the first quarter, a 3.4 percent increase over year ago levels. First quarter new LLC filings rose to 6,846 in the seven-county metro area—a 7.2 percent increase compared to the first quarter of 2015. New assumed names totaled 2,346 in the first quarter—an improvement of 11.8 percent from the first quarter of 2015. There were 408 new filings for non-profit in the Twin Cities in the first quarter of 2016, 10.7 percent fewer filings than one year earlier.
Twin Cities employment increased by 2.7 percent over the year ending March 2016. The planning area’s unemployment rate was 3.7 percent in March, an improvement on its 3.8 percent reading one year earlier. March 2016 initial claims for unemployment insurance were lower than year ago levels, falling by 10.3 percent to 6,880. The number of job vacancies per 100 unemployed in the Twin Cities planning area surged to 117.2 in the fourth quarter of 2015 and the labor force expanded by 42,687–a 2.6 percent increase over the prior year. Annual bankruptcies fell in the Twin Cities over the past twelve months. Average weekly hours worked fell in the metro area, but this was offset by an increase in average hourly earnings. The value of residential building permits rose by 11.4 percent in the Twin Cities MSA compared to one year ago.
Banaian, King and MacDonald, Richard A., "Twin Cities Area Economic and Business Conditions Report - First Quarter 2016" (2016). Twin Cities Minnesota Economic and Business Conditions Report. 9.