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Lots of Millennials, Fewer New Companies

A new report quantifies the Twin Cities’ economic progress over the last five years. The upshot? Many millennial-age workers are moving in, but start-up activity lags behind peer regions.

Lots of Millennials, Fewer New Companies

Over the last five years, thousands of new companies have set up shop in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro, but the region still lags far behind its peers.

According to a new report from local economic development group Greater MSP, 9,336 new companies were formed in the Twin Cities in the last five years. That places the region in dead last among 12 similarly sized metros.

The report evaluated a host of economic indicators in the Twin Cities; Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Boston; Charlotte, N.C.; Chicago, Dallas-Ft. Worth; Denver; Pittsburgh; Portland, Ore.; San Francisco; and Seattle.

In terms of new business formation, Portland was second to last after Minneapolis-St. Paul. In Portland, 11,008 new companies were established over the last five years. San Francisco tallied the greatest number of new companies at 140,000, according to the report.

“To sustain a diverse economy in the future, we must generate more start-up activity,” Greater MSP officials say in a news release.

Though the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro saw considerably less start-up activity than its peers, the region has some staying power. The Twin Cities ranked second for new companies that have survived for at least five years, according to the report.

There were a few other pieces of good news, too. Net migration of millennial talent to the region grew 265 percent over the past two years.

And in the last five years, the number of 25- to 34-year-olds moving to the Twin Cities grew to 7,837, placing the region in seventh among its peers.

“Though the numbers looks impressive, we still need to increase in-migration to keep up with area business’s needs for highly-trained talent,” Greater MSP officials say.

In addition, the employment gap between white workers and workers of color fell from 13 percent to 8.6 percent, according to the report.

“Strong communities are built on strong economies,” says Tim Welsh, Greater MSP board chair and U.S. Bancorp vice chairman of consumer and business banking. "We’ve reached a point where we need reinvention and bold action in critical areas.”

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