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Research Study

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Strong economic growth is expected to continue in the Twin Cities planning area according to the predictions of the Twin Cities Index of Leading Economic Indicators (LEI). The Twin Cities LEI registered a 4.94 reading in the first quarter of 2018 as four of five index components showed strength. An increase in the Minnesota Business Conditions Index—a general measure of statewide business conditions—and improvement in the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Minnesota Leading Economic Indicators Index each contributed favorably to this quarter’s LEI. In addition, an increase in the number of residential building permits in the Twin Cities metropolitan area and reduced regional initial jobless claims also helped to lift the regional outlook.

There were 12,132 new business filings with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State in the seven-county metro area in the first quarter of 2018—representing a 6.6 percent increase from one year ago. 1,523 new regional business incorporations were tallied in the Twin Cities in the first quarter—1.5 percent fewer than year ago levels. First quarter new LLC filings rose to 7,943 in the seven-county metro area—a 10.1 percent increase compared to the first quarter of 2017. New assumed names were 0.1 percent lower in the first quarter and there were 51 more new non-profit filings in the Twin Cities than one year ago.

Sixty-one percent of new business filers in the Twin Cities planning area completed the voluntary Minnesota Business Snapshot (MBS) survey in this year’s first quarter. Results of this voluntary survey indicate that nearly 15 percent of new filers come from communities of color. About 5 percent of new filings are veterans. A little more than 2 percent of new filers come from the disability community and 8.7 percent of new filings are made by the immigrant community. Thirty-eight percent of new business filings in the Twin Cities planning area in this year’s first quarter were initiated by women. MBS results also show that most new business filers in the Twin Cities have between 0 and $10,000 in annual gross revenues (although 766 new filers have revenues in excess of $50,000). The most popular industries for new businesses in the Twin Cities are professional/scientific/technical, retail trade, real estate/rental/leasing, construction, and other services. Employment levels at most new firms are between 0 and 5 workers, and 43.5 percent of those starting a new business consider this a part-time activity.

Twin Cities planning area employment increased by 3.8 percent over the year ending March 2018. At 3.1 percent, the planning area’s unemployment rate was considerably lower than one year earlier. Initial claims for unemployment insurance were lower than year ago levels, falling by 10.1 percent to 6,622. The job vacancy rate in the Twin Cities has reached an historical high. For every 100 unemployed workers in the Twin Cities, there are 163.54 job vacancies. Average hourly earnings rose for private sector workers in the 16-county Minneapolis-St. Paul MSA over the year ending March 2018, but average weekly work hours declined. The planning area labor force increased by 3.2 percent over the year ending March 2018. Annual bankruptcies continue to rise in the Twin Cities. The relative cost of living fell in both Minneapolis and St. Paul.



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