St. Cloud-area businesses report strong growth over the past three months, and the area's future outlook remains solid. Payroll data indicate overall St. Cloud metropolitan area employment grew at a 1.4 percent annual rate over the year ending April 2017. This is more rapid than the average annual job growth rate of 0.9 of a percent observed since 2002.
Once again, the construction sector led the way with nearly double-digit job growth, followed by strong gains in the wholesale trade and educational/health sectors. On the other hand the financial activities, transportation/warehousing/utilities, manufacturing, information and leisure/hospitality sectors all experienced year-over-year job losses.
The leading economic indicator series contracted by 0.11 of a percent in the last quarter. Surveyed firms indicate strong business activity in the current quarter with higher employee compensation and a lengthening of the workweek. They also highlight increased expected difficulty attracting qualified workers over the next six months.
Banaian, King and MacDonald, Richard A., "St. Cloud Area Quarterly Business Report, Vol. 19, No. 2" (2017). St. Cloud Area Quarterly Business Report. 74.