Jobs & Wages

The Worth of Women’s Work

Compared to our neighbors in Wisconsin, working people in Minnesota are doing alright. We have more job growth, higher pay, and better labor protections. The prosperity that we enjoy as a state is not, however, equally felt, with significant wage disparities for women and workers of color. As we hear about the persistent workforce shortages…

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Opportunity Zones: Making Them Work for Minnesota

Opportunity zones will be in the news over the next few months. Since opportunity zones have the potential to affect communities across the state, now is a good time to learn a little bit about what they are, how they might work, and what they may mean for Minnesota communities. Opportunity zones were created in…

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Wisconsin Grows Poorer, More Unequal Relative to Minnesota

Minnesota’s median income grew faster than the national average over the past decade, as noted in part 1 of this series. And while Minnesota income inequality has increased, it has increased less rapidly than the national average. Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, median income growth fell short of the U.S. growth rate and income inequality increased at…

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Minnesota Workers: How are we doing?

  More information about the data Jeff Van Wychen on Job Growth in Minnesota: With the addition of 43,100 jobs from July 2017 to July 2018, Minnesota surpasses all of its neighboring states in terms of job growth over the last year. States with low unemployment rates—such as Minnesota—are often at a disadvantage in creating…

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Work With Me

Misdirection is a powerful tool in the hands of an illusionist: by drawing your attention to something shiny, you are compelled to miss what is important directly in front of you. An act of misdirection in our labor markets is the persistent myth of immigration’s role in suppressing wages for blue collar jobs – a…

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Welcome Home

Minnesota has a reputation as a great place to call home. In national rankings of quality of life, job quality, child wellbeing, and cost of living we look pretty attractive. Among the competitive advantages of Minnesota is that historically we have been an affordable place to find a home. However, across the state communities that…

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Counterpoint: Progressive policies in Minnesota are working for workers

(Note: this commentary was published by the Star Tribune on July 26, 2018.) As corporate profits soar, working people are rightly demanding fair wages, thereby inciting the ire and criticism of both conservative policymakers and academics. A recent column (“Higher wage is hurting those it’s supposed to help,” July 23) claimed that Minnesota’s higher minimum wage…

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Income Tax Hikes Have Not Stifled Job, Income Growth

Conservatives frequently argue that tax increases stifle job growth. In reality, data from 1950 to the present show no indication that Minnesota income tax increases have had any adverse impact on job creation or income growth. In fact, Minnesota’s rate of job and income growth has tended be greatest following state income tax increases and…

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New Report: Minnesota’s Construction Industry Pulls Ahead of Wisconsin’s

A new report by North Star Policy Institute finds that Minnesota’s construction industry has pulled ahead of Wisconsin’s since the Great Recession, fueled by a strong recovery that has boosted both employment and average worker pay. Minnesota surpassed Wisconsin in total construction employment, while construction industry wage growth in Minnesota has far outpaced that of…

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North Star testimony at PUC Hearing on proposed Bitter Root wind farm

Note: below are my comments delivered at a recent public hearing hosted by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in Canby, MN on the proposed Bitter Root wind farm project, with further content added for submittal to the PUC on July 18. —————————– Your Honor, interested parties, and community members: thank you for the opportunity…

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