Good economic news in Minneapolis

I’m excited to share some new data that represents good economic news for Minneapolis, in both jobs and housing.

First, good news about jobs in Minneapolis:

  • From mid-2010 to mid-2011, 5,300 new jobs were created in Minneapolis.
  • That’s the fastest rate of job growth in Minneapolis since 2006.
  • What’s more, 2,300 more Minneapolis residents now have jobs.
  • This growth means that Minneapolis’ unemployment rate has fallen to 5.3% — the level it was at in October 2008, when the Great Recession first hit.
  • Minneapolis’ unemployment rate is the same as that of the broader metro area and lower than that of the state.

At the City of Minneapolis, we worked hard through the height of the recession, as now, to mitigate its effects, by helping Minneapolis residents train for and find good jobs.

Minneapolis is one of the only cities in the country that runs its own employment and training programs. As a result, we are more nimble and better equipped to meet the fast-changing needs of employers and get workers into growing careers. Even with tough budget cuts, we have not cut our employment and training programs because we know how important they are to getting families back on their feet.

This work continues to pay off. In 2011 alone:

  • We placed 572 low-income workers into well-paid jobs.
  • We provided career planning and skills training for 1,041 dislocated workers.
  • We placed 339 dislocated workers into new, living-wage jobs.

One very successful employment and training program is RENEW. It’s a joint program between Minneapolis and Saint Paul–Ramsey County that trains and places workers who have faced tough challenges in finding work into highly-paid, green-economy careers. It was originally funded by President Obama’s Recovery Act.

  • Through RENEW, we have trained 586 workers and placed 311 workers in their new fields.
  • Steve Haslach is one worker who lost his job when the recession hit who sought training through RENEW and is now back in the workforce at Applied Energy Innovations, a Minneapolis company that does solar installations and sustainable construction. Watch Steve talk about his new career.

In addition, we continue to prepare the next generation for meaningful employment — which means growing our economy for the long term:

  • In 2011, we placed 1,980 youth into high-quality STEP-UP summer jobs.
  • Since 2004, we have placed 14,000 youth into STEP-UP.
  • These youth are 86% from families of color, 93% from families living in poverty and 50% from immigrant families. They speak 100 languages and are the key to our future economic competitiveness.

There’s good news on the housing front, too.

  • In 2011, foreclosures fell 25% compared to 2010.
  • Foreclosures are down 50% compared to 2008.
  • The City of Minneapolis prevented 388 foreclosures in 2011.
  • Since 2008, the City of Minneapolis and its partners have prevented 1,428 foreclosures.
  • Minneapolis continues to lead the region in new housing: in 2011, new units permitted rose 12% and the dollar amount of permit activity rose 36%.

This recession has been tougher than any since the Great Depression and we’re not out of the woods yet. Like everywhere in America, we have a ways to go before we recover all the jobs that we lost when the recession bottomed out in early 2009. And too many people are still losing their homes to foreclosure.

But like everywhere in America, we’re also benefitting from 23 straight months of private-sector job growth.

Unlike a lot of places in America, however, we have weathered the recession better than other cities because we have had the right mix of aggressive, pro-growth policies to mitigate its effects and keep growing Minneapolis’ economy for the long term.

We’ve had some great partners in the private and nonprofit sectors, as well as at other levels of government, including the Obama administration. Above all, we’ve had great partners in the residents of Minneapolis, who have survivved a terrible time. We know that for many people, “recovery” will not mean getting back everything that they lost, but we’re working to make “recovery” mean that everyone has the tools and opportunities that they need to succeed again. And we won’t rest until every Minneapolis resident has them.



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