On Tuesday, Minneapolis-based Thrivent Financial announced it was shedding hundreds of jobs, largely through employees opting to accept voluntary severance packages. The company disclosed that approximately 430 employees accepted buyouts.
It also announced plans to shutter Brightpeak Financial, a division created in 2012 to reach younger clients. The shutdown of Brightpeak will lead to 60 layoffs, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).
In a company statement, Thrivent said: “A key component of the strategy is to reduce $40 million in operating expenses over the next two years.”
But Thrivent is hardly alone. Several Minnesota companies, or firms with a sizable presence in the state, have been announcing layoffs in 2019.
Last week Maplewood-based 3M Co. announced plans to cut 2,000 jobs after disappointing first quarter results. The company, which has global operations, did not provide any specifics about potential job cuts in Minnesota. It was also disclosed in January that 3M would layoff 96 workers after shutting down a filtration plant in Eagan.
The biggest hit to Minnesota workers this year was felt in the wake of the bankruptcy and liquidation of Green Bay, Wis.-based retailer Shopko. DEED’s records for January-March tally 34 Shopko store closings throughout outstate Minnesota, affecting a total of 1,113 workers across the state. That’s more than one-third of all workers affected by plant closing or mass layoffs in the first three months of 2019.
The number of workers affected by plant closings and mass layoffs in 2018 was up 47 percent, according to the numbers tracked by DEED.
Year Affected workers
There have been several other notable large layoffs this year.
San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co. laid off 202 employees in Bloomington and another five in Dodge Center. Chaska-based KleinBank laid off 85 employees in the wake of being acquired by Indiana-based Old National Bank. Aveda Corp. laid off 101 employees after the sale of its Aveda Institute. Faribault Foods cut 102 jobs with plans to close its plant in Cokato. DEED also lists 200 layoffs by ABRA Automotive Systems Inc. in Brooklyn Center.
Minneapolis-based Code42, maker of data loss protection software, announced in January that it would cut 55 jobs in response to slowing growth. Large health insurance nonprofit Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota cut 100 jobs: 60 in Eagan and another 40 on the Iron Range.
For the first three months of 2019, DEED tallied a total of 3,001 Minnesota workers affected by closings or mass layoffs. That’s roughly on pace with the layoff numbers for the first quarter of 2018.
Over the first three months of 2019, Minnesota has lost, rather than added, jobs. The latest DEED statistics show that the state lost 3,100 jobs in the first quarter. (That number is likely to change: a revision of the monthly numbers for March is expected in a few weeks.)
“We’re certainly seeing evidence that employment growth has decreased dramatically over the last few months,” said Steve Hine, director of DEED’s Labor Market Information Office.