Mpls. Employment, Construction Show Signs of Recovery

The City of Minneapolis released data that show signs of economic recovery in the city; trends include a decline in the rate of unemployment, an increase in construction volume, and a decrease in the number of foreclosures.

Minneapolis is showing signs of economic recovery, with more of its residents working, the volume of construction rising to pre-recession levels, and fewer homeowners being foreclosed upon, according to data released by the City of Minneapolis.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak announced the trends at a Wednesday press conference.

As of the end of last year, Minneapolis' unemployment rate was 5.3 percent, the city's lowest since October 2008, according to a news release. The rate was lower than both the statewide and nationwide unemployment rates at the time-5.7 percent and 8.3 percent, respectively. The city's labor force grew 1.2 percent in 2011, with 2,300 more city residents working.

The city said that 5,300 jobs were added between the second quarter of 2010 and the second quarter of 2011-the highest increase in jobs in a 12-month period since 2006.

Meanwhile, construction in the city also saw an upward trend with permit activity returning to pre-recession levels. Construction and renovation volume in 2011 (as measured by permit activity) totaled $747 million, exceeding the previous year's volume by more than $200 million and returning to pre-recession levels, according to the city. And the trend seems to have continued into the new year: Construction volume in January 2012 was five times the volume in January 2011.

A total of 985 permits for residential units were issued in 2011-the highest among all metro-area cities for the sixth year in a row; 881 such permits were issued in 2010. Foreclosures, meanwhile, dropped 25 percent in 2011 from 2010 and there were nearly 50 percent fewer than the all-time high in 2008.

“The City of Minneapolis has been there every step of the way, training workers for good jobs in growing sectors and helping businesses with the tools they need to succeed,” Rybak said in a statement. “We have not fully recovered, but the data show that we are on the right path, based on the strength of Minneapolis' fundamentals.”

The city said that in 2011, it welcomed 2,987 new businesses, placed 572 low-income workers into “well-paying” jobs, and provided career-planning services and skills training for 1,041 dislocated workers. The city assisted with 113 loans collectively totaling $2,642,749 and leveraged $19,998,825 in private support, which helped retain 833 jobs and create 273 new ones.