For more information contact: Matt Roznowski 651-296-8875
I hope you and your loved ones are having a terrific summer. As neighborhoods throughout Minnesota gather for community festivals, barbeques, baseball games and other family-friendly activities, we have good reason to feel optimistic about the direction our state is heading.
The facts show that Minnesota is becoming an even better place to live, work, raise a family and do business. In May and June, employers added nearly 20,000 new jobs statewide, bringing our unemployment level down to the lowest level since February 2007. When you zero in on the Twin Cities metropolitan region, we have the lowest unemployment rate in the entire country when compared to similar regions in other states. There is much more work to do over the coming years to build an economy that works for everyone, but there is no doubt we are on the path to a brighter future.
Private sector analysis predicts more positive economic news right now and into the future. A recent BMO Harris Bank report concluded that Minnesota’s economy will continue growing at a firm pace throughout this year. The report cites the metro region’s wide swatch of service industries as major reasons for our success.
Todd Senger, Minnesota Regional President of BMO Harris Bank, had this to say:
“Our state and metro area have a lot going for them with our job growth, diversity of industries and the confidence businesses have shown by investing in their operations and people. This report confirms the positive outlook we have seen among businesses and business owners in the last few months, and we fully expect to see the upturn continue as more and more businesses feel the effects of the growth in our area."
Thanks to smart fiscal management at our state capitol, Minnesota’s budget outlook remains strong, too. General fund revenue for Fiscal Year 2014 (which ended on July 1) came in at $168 million more than projected. In addition, we now have $150 million more revenue in our budget reserves, which will help provide a better financial cushion in future economic downturns and protect vital needs like education, health care and maintenance for our roads, bridges and highways. After a decade of gridlock, government shutdowns and perpetual budget deficits, Minnesota is back on sound fiscal footing.
Other states are taking note as Minnesota receives national recognition for our strong economy and high quality of life.
According to CNBC’s eighth annual “America’s Top State’s for Business” report, Minnesota is the sixth best state for business – a strong improvement from being ranked 13th last year. The report cites Minnesota’s “superior quality of life, a vibrant economy and a robust infrastructure” as a few of the major reasons for our success. Forbes recently ranked Minnesota the third best state to make a living, up from being ranked sixth last year due to our “very low unemployment rate and excellent workplace conditions.” A U.S. Chamber of Commerce report ranked Minnesota second in the nation for our ‘talent pipeline’ – a key metric of our workforce’s skills and talents.
Here is an excerpt:
“Ranked 2nd for its talent pipeline in this year's report, Minnesota is strengthening workforce skills and economic growth by bringing multiple stakeholders to the table to work in partnership.
The state's Governor's Workforce Development Council (GWDC) brings together leaders from the private, public, and education sectors, along with community leaders, to recommend ways to better align the state's workforce skill development with real-world needs.”
The legislature’s investments in education, such as providing free all-day Kindergarten for every child, preschool scholarships for low-income families, additional funding tied to rigorous achievement standards and a two-year college tuition freeze, are helping to continue building a talented workforce that can compete with businesses around the world.
The legislature also made new investments in direct property tax refunds for homeowners and renters, which will put more money in the pockets of middle-class families to spend at local businesses on necessities like groceries, gas, clothing and school supplies. The deadline to apply for a property tax refund is Friday, August 15. To look up eligibility requirements and application instructions, visit www.revenue.state.mn.us or call the Minnesota Department of Revenue at 651-296-3781 or 1-800-652-9094.
Although summer is winding down, our economy is hitting its stride. We have more work to do together in the years ahead to create good jobs that allow Minnesotans to support themselves and their families, but all signs show we are heading in the right direction.