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Minnesota employers report most job openings in four years

ST. PAUL - Job vacancies in Minnesota climbed 32.1 percent in the second quarter of 2011 compared with the same period a year ago, according to figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

The agency said employers reported 54,700 openings during the period, compared with 41,400 openings one year earlier.

The Job Vacancy Survey, conducted twice annually by DEED in the second and fourth quarters, also found that the state had 3.6 unemployed people for each vacancy, compared with 4.8 unemployed people for each vacancy during the same period last year.

"These findings point to an improving economy that is returning to levels not seen since before the recession," said DEED Commissioner Mark Phillips. "Minnesota employers haven't reported this many job openings since the second quarter of 2007."

About half the job vacancies (54 percent) were in the seven-county Twin Cities region, which accounted for 29,500 openings. The remaining 25,200 vacancies were in Greater Minnesota. Compared with one year ago, job vacancies were up 43.2 percent in Greater Minnesota and 23.8 percent in the Twin Cities.

Health care and social assistance had the most vacancies (17.9 percent), followed by retail trade (12.4 percent), accommodation and food services (11.8 percent), and manufacturing (10.9 percent)

Firms with 50 or more employees accounted for 56.9 of the vacancies, while firms with 10 to 49 workers had 30.9 percent of the openings and those with fewer than 10 workers had 12.1 percent of the total.

According to the DEED findings, 38 percent of the job vacancies were for part-time employment (35 hours or fewer a week), and 23 percent of the vacancies were for temporary or seasonal work.

The survey found that 42 percent of the openings required a college degree or some level of post-high school training. The median wage offer for all job vacancies was $10 an hour.

Of the employers who were surveyed, 9.8 percent said they expect to increase employment levels in the next six months, down 1.4 percent from one year ago. The majority of employers (86.8 percent) expect staffing levels to remain the same over the next six months.

DEED conducts the Job Vacancy Survey twice a year to measure hiring demand and vacancy characteristics by industry, occupation and firm size in Minnesota. About 13,000 firms in 20 industry sectors are surveyed in the state.

A full report can be found at