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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 (LEI). Improvements in consumer sentiment, an increase in new filings for business incorporation and limited liability company (LLC), a rise in the Minnesota Business Conditions index, and increasing Rochester metropolitan area residential building permits all helped lift the second quarter LEI by 5.42 points. The only component of the LEI that served as a drag on the leading index was initial jobless claims. The Southeast Minnesota Index is now 9.4 percent higher than one year ago.

There were 842 new business filings with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State in Southeast Minnesota in the second quarter of 2014 — representing a 2.6 percent increase from one year ago. There were 75 new regional business incorporations in the second quarter, a 2.7 percent rise over year ago levels. Over the past 12 months, new limited liability company (LLC) filings in Southeast Minnesota increased by 10.1 percent — rising to 513 in the second quarter of 2014. New assumed names totaled 213 in this year’s second quarter — a reduction of 14.1 percent from the second quarter of 2013. There were 41 new filings for Southeast Minnesota nonprofits in the second quarter — seven more filings than one year ago.

Employment of Southeast Minnesota residents increased by 0.4 percent over the year ending June 2014. Compared to June 2013, nearly 1,000 more residents of Southeast Minnesota now have jobs. The regional unemployment rate was 4.3 percent in June, an improvement from 4.9 percent in the year earlier period. Initial claims for unemployment insurance in June 2014 were little changed from one year ago. The average weekly wage in Southeast Minnesota increased to $887 — a 1.7 percent annual increase. The Southeast Minnesota labor force was little changed over the past twelve months.

Data from the Rochester area — the largest market in Southeast Minnesota — were mixed with solid gains in the value of residential building permits and a recent decline in initial jobless claims being offset by tepid overall employment growth, a reduction in employment in its key educational and health sector and a very modest increase in average hourly earnings.



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