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St. Cloud Area Quarterly Business Report

Document Type

Research Study

Publication Date



After a quarter in which local firms’ future outlook weakened considerably, the area economy appears to have rebounded in recent months.

Despite some anecdotal evidence of recent regional layoffs, quantitative and qualitative indicators of local economic performance point to improved future conditions in the St. Cloud area. Even though the St. Cloud area labor force was reported to have declined over the past 12 months, area payroll employment (this is obtained from a different source of data than the labor force measure) grew at a 1.8 percent annual rate.

Construction, retail trade and educational and health sectors once again led the area in employment growth, while manufacturing, transportation, warehousing and utilities, leisure and hospitality and local government sectors shed jobs. The leading economic indicator series rose by 0.28 percent in the last quarter.

Surveyed firms were much more optimistic about future business activity than they were last quarter. Compared to one year ago, the future outlook is only slightly lower (although the future employment outlook weakened again in this quarter’s survey.) Area firms expect to see rising wages and prices over the next six months, and planned capital expenditures are at their highest level since February 2006.

Special Survey Questions:

  1. Priorities for the 2017 legislative session in St. Paul.
  2. Most important legislative priority.
  3. What is impact of election results?


Originally published as a supplement to the Sunday edition of the St. Cloud Times newspaper on 11 December 2016.



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