Despite experiencing the worst worker shortages since the late 1990s, St. Cloud-area businesses continue to experience strong growth. Payroll data indicate overall St. cloud metropolitan area employment grew at a 1.8 percent annual rate over theyear ending July 2017, above the average annual job growth rate of 1 percent observed since 2002.
Once again the construction sector led the way with double-digit job growth, followed by strong gains in the wholesale trade as well as the educational and health sector. Similar to last quarter, the financial activities, manufacturing, information, and transportation/warehousing/utilities sectors all experienced year-over-year job losses.
The leading economic indicator series rose by 0.35 percent in the last quarter, and the area's future economic outlook remains solid. Surveyed firms indicate strong business activity in the current quarter with higher capital expenditures, accelerating employee compensation and increased difficulty attracting qualified workers.
Banaian, King and MacDonald, Richard A., "St. Cloud Area Quarterly Business Report, Vol. 19, No. 3" (2017). St. Cloud Area Quarterly Business Report. 75.