Reports: Economic Growth Next Year To Be Best In 10 Years

Minnesota jobless rate well below national average; new business filings nearing a record.

The U.S. economy is trending toward its strongest year of growth since 2005, according to a national panel of 48 business economists. The Associated Press reported Monday that The National Association for Business Economics (NABE) forecasts a 3.1 percent expansion of the overall economy, as measured by gross domestic product.
 
Since the 2007-2009 recession—the worst downturn since the 1930s—growth in the U.S. has been sub-par at 2.2 percent per year. The NABE said the 2015 gains will reflect continued job growth and a boost in consumer spending. Last week, the government reported that 321,000 jobs were added in November, the most in nearly three years. For the year, the country is on pace for its largest annual jobs gain since 1999.
 
Minnesota continues to be ahead of national jobs trends. Last month, the state’s Department of Employement and Economic Development reported the lowest unemployment rate since 2006: 3.9 percent, below the national rate of 5.8 percent. Employers added 9,500 jobs in October, totaling 49,679 over the past year. The 28,300 jobs added over the past three months is Minnesota’s strongest three-month span on record.
 
Meanwhile, on Friday, Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie reported 4,095 new Minnesota businesses were filed, bringing the state’s year-to-date filings to 54,680 and putting the state’s 2014 business filings on pace to surpass last year’s 58,260 by 2 percent. That would also give Minnesota its third-highest ranking year of new filings in state history.
 
The news isn’t rosy for everyone: Golden Valley-based General Mills is in the process of reducing its headcount by up to 800 people by early next year. Plans announced in October call for the company to cut between 700 to 800 jobs to save an estimated $125 million to $150 million after continued lagging sales. The company employs about 5,000 in the Twin Cities. The last comparable layoff was in 2012, according to the Star Tribune, when General Mills fired about 850 mostly white-collar employees, half of which were in the Twin Cities.