Jobs & Wages

Nuclear Power in Minnesota

Two nuclear stations in Minnesota, Monticello and Prairie Island, produced 23% of the state’s energy last year. Both were built in the 1970s. Between the three reactors at the two plants, they have a maximum capacity of 1,594 megawatts (MW)—enough to power more well more than a million homes. For those curious about how they…

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What Coal Plant Closures Mean for Minnesotans

In the last few years, several coal plants in Minnesota have either shut down their boilers, idled them, or converted them to another fuel source. These closures have followed national and international trends, where coal-fired electricity loses on cost to natural gas and renewables. What economic impacts will Minnesotans feel? The Becker, MN Sherburne County…

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Minnesota Still Outperforming “Right to Work” Wisconsin

For most of the last decade, earnings in Minnesota and Wisconsin grew at a similar pace—until 2015. In that year, Wisconsin adopted its so-called “right to work” (RTW) law. Since then, earnings growth in Wisconsin slowed relative to Minnesota. In 2017, the average hourly earnings gap between Minnesota and Wisconsin was 42% greater than it…

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Minnesota thrives, Rauner fails on jobs

The following is a guest commentary that recently appeared in the The State Journal Register of Springfield, Illinois.   The numbers tell a harsh story: since Gov. Bruce Rauner came to office in January 2015, Illinois has been one of only four states nationwide and the only Midwestern state to have lost population. Job growth…

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When Equal Unemployment Rates Are Not Equal

Minnesota and Wisconsin currently enjoy low unemployment rates relative to the rest of the nation. In addition, both states enjoyed an above average decline in unemployment rates since the beginning of the Great Recession. However, this does not mean that the economies of these states have performed equally well. Minnesota achieved its low unemployment rate…

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Job Vacancy Wages Don’t Meet Basic Needs

The wages offered for most job vacancies in Minnesota are not sufficient to meet the basic needs of a typical family, according to the 2017 Minnesota Cost of Living Study prepared by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). The preceding article in this series noted that the median wage for all occupations…

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44 Percent of Jobs Don’t Meet Basic Needs

The median job wage in Minnesota pays only modestly more than what is needed to meet basic needs for a small family, according the 2017 Minnesota Cost of Living Study prepared by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). There is significant variation among Minnesota regions in the extent to which wages satisfy…

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Minnesota Outperforms Neighbors in Job Growth

Since the turn of the century, employment growth in Minnesota has kept pace with the rest of the nation and comfortably surpassed the Midwest average. Minnesota’s strong performance relative to the rest of the region has persisted through two recessions, a major financial meltdown, a major tax reduction, and a major tax increase. The following…

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Income Inequality Continues to Escalate

Last summer, two separate North Star articles (published on July 18 and August 29) explored the growth in U.S. and Minnesota income inequality since the 1970s and 1980s. While recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau showed significant income growth in 2015, income inequality has continued to increase since the beginning of the Great Recession…

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