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2021 Business Benchmarks Report

Navigating the 2021 Business Benchmarks

Click each section to read firsthand accounts on how these issues are impacting Minnesota's business leaders. And be sure to check out the data-driven dashboards to see how Minnesota compares to other states in a number of critical indicators.

2021 Business Benchmarks
Download the 2021 Business Benchmarks
Hear from Rich Garrity, President-Americas, Stratasys on the state of Minnesota's diverse economy.
“Everything we’re using in our business is more expensive year over year," says Lori Davies President, Clow Stamping.
Hear from Jill Putman Chief Financial Officer, Jamf on how Jamf is working to streamline technology so students may never have a snow day again.
Geoff Baker, President and COO, McFarland Truck Lines explains how infrastructure in Minnesota fundamentally changed during COVID-19.
Cost of Doing Business
Cost of Doing Business
James Sieben, President, Nova-Tech Engineering explains the importance of investing in employees and company culture.
Companies like WSB are getting creative to fill skilled jobs with diverse talent, explains Bret Weiss, President and CEO.
Diversity and Inclusion
Diversity and Inclusion
Minnesota companies are leading by example, in working to close the achievement gap and creating opportunity for all Minnesotans.

Download the full 2021 Business Benchmarks HERE



Executive Summary

It’s hard to avoid the predominant issue of 2020 – the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only has this impacted our personal lives on every level, but it has drastically impacted our economy. This year’s report benchmarks our “new economy.” By this, we mean the economy that will operate under the cloud of uncertainty before the pandemic is over.

Doug Loon

We hope to move toward recovery as soon as possible – and will advocate for our members’ interests to make sure they can step into a place in our economy where long-term success is possible.

Among this year’s findings:

  • The diversity of Minnesota’s economy has helped the state weather the COVID-19 storm.
  • Although Minnesota is not in the top 10 tax rates in every category, strong challenges to progress remain, especially in corporate and individual income taxes and overall state and local burdens.
  • Businesses have proven once again this year that innovation is a strength of Minnesota’s economy, with many pivoting their products and services to meet the demands of a COVID-19-driven economy. Minnesota’s low entrepreneurship start up rates remain a big concern.
  • Investments in infrastructure have helped Minnesota’s competitiveness, and access to broadband continues to improve through private and public investment.
  • While some costs of doing business have improved, such as health care and the cost of living, self-imposed headwinds remain, such as high unemployment tax rates.
  • COVID-19 impacted the workforce landscape. Minnesota’s labor participation rate has spiked, but domestic migration and international immigration are stagnant during the pandemic.

The other principal influencing factor in our shared experience this year was the death of George Floyd and subsequent civil unrest. There is no question that this event brought the conversations around diversity and inclusion to the forefront of our minds – and our business practices.

We’ve added a section on diversity and inclusion to this report this year, to examine the data and indices around
inequities in business and the workforce. A hard-working, highly-skilled workforce has been a long-standing element of success in business in Minnesota. But gaps in poverty and unemployment rates, labor participation rates and education illustrate the need to advocate for greater representation among communities of color in our state.

The Business Benchmarks report is just one element of the Minnesota Chamber’s examination of the economy.
Over the coming months and year, we will release a Blueprint on Minnesota’s Economic Recovery and a ten-year
projection of long-term growth and recovery from the Minnesota Chamber Foundation.

We hope these data are helpful for your understanding of trends across businesses as a whole in our state. We
will continue to work with you to advocate for economic recovery and a better business climate for the long term prosperity of our state.

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Questions about the 2021 Business Benchmarks?

We'd love to hear from you! If you have questions on this year's Business Benchmarks or would like to get involved on the topics listed above, please contact us or reach out to one of our expert staff