Minnesota Economy Improving But Harsh Disparities Leave Too Many Workers Behind: The State of Working Minnesota 2016

The U.S. economic recovery has been slow. Although Minnesota hasn’t been immune to the effects of an economic recovery characterized by fits and starts, Minnesota’s economy has a number of strengths, compared to the recent past and to national trends. Some economic indicators are back to pre-recession levels, including unemployment. Considering perhaps our most comparable neighbor, Wisconsin, our relative economic strength shines through with Minnesota’s higher labor force participation and higher median wages.

However, the national economy is not seeing the growth in wages and family incomes that we might expect seven years into the economic recovery. As a result, many working Minnesotans are still struggling to reach economic security. The inflation-adjusted wages of many Minnesotans have just gotten back to where they were before the Great Recession hit, but the longer-term trend is that wages aren’t keeping up with the cost of living. As a result, many families can’t meet their basic needs for child care, transportation, housing and health care.

A review of recent economic information reveals that too many working Minnesotans still lack the quality jobs that would allow them to support themselves and their families.