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Job vacancies in Minnesota climb 18 percent from a year ago

Job vacancies in Minnesota climbed 18 percent from a year ago in the fourth quarter of 2012, posting their highest numbers for the period in seven years, according to figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

The survey, conducted twice annually by the agency, is a leading indicator of economic activity, with increasing vacancies showing stronger hiring demand by employers.

DEED said employers reported 58,860 job vacancies in the fourth quarter, compared with 49,890 openings during the same period in 2011. There were 2.6 unemployed people for each vacancy, compared with 3.2 unemployed people per vacancy a year earlier.

"The latest Job Vacancy Survey is another sign that the Minnesota labor market is coming back strong," said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben. "We haven't seen this many job openings in the fourth quarter since well before the Great Recession started."

One highlight of the report was the manufacturing industry, which was hit especially hard during the recession. Over-the-year vacancies are up by 10 percent in the sector, totaling 500 more vacancies than reported at this time last year.

The DEED analysis found that 34,400 of the openings (58.4 percent) were in the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area, while 24,460 were in Greater Minnesota. In the Twin Cities, there were 2.4 unemployed people per vacancy (down from 2.9 a year ago), while Greater Minnesota had 3.0 unemployed people per vacancy (down from 3.7 a year ago).

Statewide, health care and social assistance had the most job vacancies (20.1 percent of the total), followed by retail trade (14 percent), accommodation and food services (11.5 percent), manufacturing (9.2 percent), and finance and insurance (7.6 percent).

The most job vacancies were reported by middle-sized firms (10 to 249 employees), which accounted for 62.1 percent of the openings. Large firms accounted for 23.6 percent of the openings, while small firms (fewer than 10 employees) had 14.2 percent of the openings.

Among other findings of the study:

1. Thirty-nine percent of the openings were for part-time employment (fewer than 35 hours per week), down from 42 percent a year earlier.

· 2. Fourteen percent of the job vacancies were for temporary or seasonal work.

· 3. Forty-two percent of the job vacancies required some level of post-secondary education or training beyond high school.

· 4. Thirty-four percent of the job vacancies required related work experience.

· 5. The median (50th percentile) wage offer for all vacancies was $13.14 per hour.

· 6. Fifty-two percent of the vacancies offered health insurance.

The Job Vacancy Survey is conducted twice a year by DEED to measure hiring demand and vacancy characteristics by industry, occupation and firm size in Minnesota. About 10,300 firms were surveyed in the latest study, with a 73.3 percent response rate.

More details about the methodology and the full fourth-quarter 2012 report can be found at