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Research Study

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Business conditions in Northeast Minnesota are expected to remain steady over the next several months according to a variety of economic indicators. Despite a decline in the Northeast Minnesota Index of Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) in the third quarter, the level of the LEI is considerably above its 2013 value. An increase in new filings for business incorporation in Northeast Minnesota, a rise in a supply managers’ survey index, and an improvement in initial jobless claims contributed favorably to the LEI. Recent weakness in Duluth-Superior Area (MSA) residential building permits and a decline in a general measure of state business conditions were negative components of the third quarter LEI.

There were 472 new business filings with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State in Northeast Minnesota in the third quarter of 2014—representing a 12.4 percent improvement from one year ago. There were 39 new regional business incorporations in the third quarter, a 17 percent reduction from 2013. Over the past 12 months, new limited liability company (LLC) filings in Northeast Minnesota jumped to 244—a 25.1 percent increase from one year earlier. New assumed names totaled 164 in this year’s third quarter—a 10.1 percent increase from the third quarter of 2013. There were 25 new filings for Northeast Minnesota non-profits in the 2014 third quarter—four fewer than one year earlier

Northeast Minnesota employment was 0.5 percent higher than year earlier levels in September. The regional unemployment rate fell to 4.5 percent as the Northeast Minnesota labor force experienced a 0.7 percent annual decline. The regional labor force is now 4,718 lower than in September 2010. September 2014 initial claims for unemployment insurance were considerably lower than in September 2013 and the level of job vacancies increased.

Data from the Duluth/Superior Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) show strong economic conditions in Northeast Minnesota’s largest market. Compared to September 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.



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