Twin Cities business conditions are expected to slow through the first several months of 2015 according to the predictions of the Twin Cities Index of Leading Economic Indicators (LEI). The Twin Cities LEI declined by 7.58 points in the fourth quarter of 2014, as weakness in two general measures of statewide business conditions dragged down the index. Slower growth in new business filings also contributed to a weaker outlook. Lifting the index were reduced initial jobless claims in the Twin Cities as well as increased residential building permits in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Despite weakness in the final quarter of 2014, the LEI finished 2014 above its 2013 level by 2.1 percent.
There were 9,127 new business filings with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State in the seven-county metro area in the fourth quarter of 2014—representing a 0.5 percent increase from one year earlier. There were 1,346 new regional business incorporations in the fourth quarter, a 4.8 percent decrease over year earlier levels. Compared to one year earlier, fourth quarter new limited liability company (LLC) filings in the seven-county metro area increased by 4.6 percent—rising to 5,619. New assumed names totaled 1,791 in the fourth quarter—a reduction of 6.7 percent from the fourth quarter of 2013. There were 371 new filings for non-profits in the Twin Cities in the fourth quarter of 2014, 1.1 percent fewer filings than one year earlier.
Twin Cities employment increased by 1 percent over the year ending December 2014. The regional unemployment rate was 3.1 percent in December, an improvement on its 4.0 percent reading one year earlier. Initial claims for unemployment insurance were below year earlier levels, falling by 12.9 percent to 10,089 in December. The average weekly wage in the Twin Cities increased 1.8 percent (to a level of $1,061) in the most recent reporting period. The metro area labor force declined by 0.1 percent over the year ending December 2014.
Banaian, King and MacDonald, Richard A., "Twin Cities Area Economic and Business Conditions Report - Fourth Quarter 2014" (2015). Twin Cities Minnesota Economic and Business Conditions Report. 5.