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Research Study

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Southeast Minnesota business conditions are expected to remain strong over the next several months according to the predictions of the St. Cloud State University (SCSU) Southeast Minnesota Index of Leading Economic Indicators. While an uptick in initial jobless claims helped push the leading economic indicator index (LEI) lower last quarter, overall business conditions remain steady in the southeast portion of the state. Strong gains in new residential building permits in the Rochester Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), along with growth in a general measure of state business conditions contributed favorably to the LEI. The Southeast Minnesota Index is now 16.1 percent higher than one year ago.

There were 847 new business filings with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State in Southeast Minnesota in the first quarter of 2014 — representing a 1.5 percent decline from one year ago. There were 63 new regional business incorporations in the first quarter, a 3.1 percent decrease over year-ago levels. Over the past 12 months, new limited liability company (LLC) filings in Southeast Minnesota increased by 1.9 percent — rising to 473 in the first quarter of 2014. New assumed names totaled 273 in this year’s first quarter — a reduction of 6.5 percent from the first quarter of 2013. There were 38 new filings for Southeast Minnesota non-profits in the first quarter— one fewer filing than one year ago.

Employment of Southeast Minnesota residents increased by 1 percent over the year ending March 2014. Nearly 2,700 more residents of Southeast Minnesota are now employed than one year ago. The regional unemployment rate was 5.1 percent in March, an improvement from 5.3 percent one year ago. Initial claims for unemployment insurance increased from the levels one year ago, but still remain lower than in any month since October 2013. Job vacancies continue to rise in Southeast Minnesota as a share of unemployed persons. There is now nearly one vacancy for every two people unemployed in this region of Minnesota.

Data from the Rochester area — the largest market in Southeast Minnesota—were mixed with solid gains in average earnings per hour and residential building permits being offset by a decline in new business filings, and flat overall employment growth.



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