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Grow Minnesota! Partnership data show economic stability despite workforce challenges

With all of talk about the future of our economy, it can be difficult to know exactly what the future will hold. But the annual report findings from the Minnesota Chamber’s Grow Minnesota! Partnership can shed light on the current state of Minnesota’s economy according to those who know best – business owners and operators around the state. 

This report shows that Minnesota’s economy remains stable and resilient, despite fears of an economic slowdown and the uncertainty surrounding tariffs and international trade deals. And while demand and business confidence is steady, job growth has slowed to a crawl as businesses face significant challenges finding and retaining workers. 

Grow Minnesota! data

According to Sean O’Neil, business development coordinator for the Grow Minnesota! Partnership, “This is mostly good news. It’s a tribute to Minnesota’s entrepreneurial spirit that innovation and growth continue despite uncertainty and workforce challenges.”

Additional key findings from the report:

  • Companies continue to innovate with new technologies and products enhancing businesses’ competitiveness. 
  • Industries tied to construction, professional services and regional/national consumer markets reported the strongest growth. This makes sense, given the state’s employment data showing construction employment grew at 3.2% during the past year, trailing only leisure and hospitality as the second-fastest growing sector.
  • Industries tied to agriculture, senior care/senior living and legacy products (forestry, publishing, telecommunications) struggled with low prices, wage pressures, changes in market demand and the impacts of public policy.
  • Manufacturing holds steady despite fears of a sectoral downturn. While some firms reported weaker demand or negative tariff impacts, others see steady or rapid growth as they implement new technologies and bring new products to market.
  • While some health care providers – particularly senior care facilities – are facing challenges, hospitals and clinics are investing heavily in new facilities, renovations and expanded services. Many investments taking place in Greater Minnesota boost local construction, engineering and related services.
  • Businesses reported navigating multiple layers of rising costs – from shipping and supplies to wages and health insurance to state-imposed business costs and federal tariffs. 

“It’s welcome news that the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement appears on a path to be ratified,” O’Neil said. “This agreement will create confidence in the markets and create new opportunities for workers across a range of industries.”

The Grow Minnesota! Partnership is the Minnesota Chamber’s private-sector business retention and assistance program with 90-plus local chambers and economic development organizations throughout the state. Staff and local partners conducted confidential one-on-one conversations with nearly 900 business owners and managers in 2019. Collected data includes on-the-ground business conditions, how businesses can stay and grow in Minnesota, and how companies can solve business concerns.

Click here to view the executive summary

Click here to view the full report