Moderate economic growth in the Central Minnesota planning area is projected over the next several months according to predictions of the Central Minnesota Index of Leading Economic Indicators (LEI). After experiencing some weakness in the first part of the year, four of the five components of the LEI turned positive in the second quarter. The only negative component of the LEI is St. Cloud area residential building permits, which appear to have been underreported on the Bureau of the Census website over the past several months. Consequently, the Central Minnesota outlook is stronger than a pure reading of the LEI would suggest. Improvements in a general measure of state business conditions, lower initial jobless claims in recent months, stronger new business filings for incorporation, and higher national durable goods orders all contributed favorably to the regional outlook.
There were 1,396 new business filings with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State in Central Minnesota in the second quarter of 2015 — representing a 1.9 percent increase from one year ago. There were 166 new regional business incorporations in the second quarter, a 9.9 percent increase from year ago levels. Over the past 12 months, new limited liability company (LLC) filings in Central Minnesota increased 2.8 percent—rising to 783 in this year’s second quarter. New assumed names totaled 399 over the recent quarter—a reduction of 3.9 percent from the same period in 2014. There were 48 new filings for Central Minnesota non-profits in the second quarter—six more filings than one year ago.
Central Minnesota employment was 1.9 percent higher in June 2015 than it was one year earlier. Compared to one year ago, 7,006 more residents of Central Minnesota now have jobs. The regional unemployment rate was 4.1 percent in June, slightly lower than the 4.3 percent rate reported one year ago. Initial claims for unemployment insurance were 2.7 percent higher in June than they were one year earlier. The Central Minnesota labor force continues to grow (rising 1.7 percent over the past year) and average weekly wages jumped by $23 in the fourth quarter of 2014—a 3.1 percent increases over one year earlier.
Economic performance in the St. Cloud area was mixed, with weaker employment and lower work hours being offset by accelerating wages, lower unemployment rates, fewer jobless claims and more help wanted linage. A recent survey of St. Cloud area business leaders was mostly favorable. New business filings also remain strong in the largest market in the Central Minnesota planning area.
MacDonald, Richard A. and Banaian, King, "Central Minnesota Economic and Business Conditions Report - Second Quarter 2015" (2015). Central Minnesota Economic and Business Conditions Report. 6.