MN Chamber Co-founds New Group Aimed at Job Growth
The Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and the Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council have launched a new coalition that will focus on promoting job growth in the state.
Jobs for Minnesotans, which launched Tuesday, will initially focus on supporting proposals to bring mining of copper, nickel, and other metals in northeastern Minnesota. The region’s untapped reserves of copper, nickel, cobalt, platinum, palladium, and gold have the potential to produce “thousands of jobs” in the state across several industry sectors, it said.
Harry Melander, president of the Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council, said in a statement that the construction industry in the state continues to face high unemployment rates.
“Jobs for Minnesotans will work to support and assist major projects that will create jobs,” he said. “The strategic metals mining industry has immense promise for our state and the coalition is targeting that opportunity to put thousands of Minnesotans back to work.”
Minnesota’s unemployment rate was 5.8 percent in October, unchanged from September and well below the national rate of 7.9 percent, according to data released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Minnesota employers eliminated 8,100 jobs in October, although the construction sector gained 1,200 jobs during the month.
Within the past year, the total number of jobs in the state grew by 1.3 percent—slightly lower than the national growth rate of 1.4 percent. During the same period, the number of construction jobs in Minnesota grew by 4.3 percent.
Jobs for Minnesotans asserts that mineral deposits totaling more than 4 billion tons lie within northeastern Minnesota’s Iron Range. And three mining companies submitted bids last month to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for the right to drill for some of those reserves, according to a Duluth News Tribune report. But environmental groups have reportedly objected to such mining and claim that it could pose environmental risks.
Members of Jobs for Minnesotans include Minnesota Power, Electrical Workers Local No. 294, Mining Minnesota, and the Hibbing Chamber of Commerce, according to its website. It said that it hopes to inform Minnesotans about the “enormous opportunity” that mineral mining provides for the state.
“We know all Minnesotans will benefit from this industry—from border to border—and with that will come new revenue for the state, our schools, and all of our priorities together as Minnesotans,” Minnesota Chamber President David Olson said in a statement.
The Minnesota Chamber has more than 2,400 businesses as members, according to its website. Its mission is to advocate for “pro-business, responsible Minnesota public policy that creates jobs and grows the economy.” The Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council, meanwhile, aims to promote the growth and development of building and construction trade unions.