Beginning Job Searching in Minnesota? 5 Trends You Need to Know

Moving to Minnesota and searching for a new job can be an exciting but daunting prospect. Not only do you have to become familiar with the local landscape, culture, and job market, but you also need to know how best to navigate it in order to find the right opportunity for your career goals. In Minnesota, there are several things that potential employees should consider before beginning their search including understanding the current job market trends, researching available resources such as online job boards and recruitment agencies, networking with industry professionals through social media platforms and professional groups, developing skills that will make them stand out from other candidates during interviews or assessments, and getting familiar with any wage or labor laws specific to this state. With these tips in mind, anyone looking for work in Minnesota can prepare themselves adequately for success in their job hunt.

Here are 5 things to know before job searching in Minnesota:

1. The Job Market is Strong and Growing

Minnesota has a strong economy with plenty of job opportunities. According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, state unemployment is 2.5%, slightly higher than its historic low of 1.7% last summer due to the pandemic. This statistic measures the percent of labor force without a job.

With a total labor force of 3 million people in the state, there are 78 thousand unemployed as of Dec 2022, according to “Minnesota Labor Statistics” by the MN Dept of Employment and Economic Development. As shown in the table, unemployment has been decreasing over the last year suggesting that more individuals are entering the thriving job market. The data also supports this. It shows that employment has been increasing since last December. “Economy at a Glance” by The US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the greatest 12-month % change per industry includes Leisure/Hospitality (8.8%) Education/Health (4.6%),  and Manufacturing (4.1%). With growth in these industries, the region is an ideal location for those looking to start anew or switch up their current career path.

While employment has increased, the state has not yet replenished job loss from the pandemic. As of October 2022  on the graph below, total Minnesota jobs are still lower than before the pandemic in March 2020.

2. There Are a Variety of Industries

Top employment industries in Minnesota are :

  1. Education/Health
  2. Trade, Transportation, and Utilities
  3. Health Care
  4. Government
  5. Professional Business Services
  6. Manufacturing
  7. Retail Trade
  8. Leisure and Hospitality
  9. Financial Activities
  10. Mining, Logging, Construction

Below is a chart of monthly employment (jobs) by industry in Minnesota

As we can see, most industries have increased monthly employment since the pandemic in 2020. This is a good indicator that the Minnesota economy is starting to recover and gain back employment.

In most cases, employment has recovered since before the pandemic (Jan 2019), or has increased slightly. Industries with higher employment now than before Jan 2019 include Education/Health, Health Care, Professional and Business Services, Manufacturing, and Logging, Construction.

Industries that have not fully recovered yet are Trade, Transportation, and Utilities, Government, Retail Trade, Leisure and Hospitality. These have seen decreased monthly employment. Financial Activities is the exception with stagnant employment, even through the pandemic.

Reasons for the drop in employment could be decreased Labor Force Participation Rate, stagnant population growth, and more retirees. The LFPR measures the total civilian population that is 16 years and older working or actively looking for work. All these in tandem shrink the working population.

However, as LFPR has been slowly increasing over the last year so has the labor force.

Last December we saw a LFPR at 67.3. This year it has increased to 67.9. This means more people have returned to work or are actively looking for work. Analyzing the data we can conclude that 97% of the labor force is employed. This is great news and indicates a strong and healthy economy.

3. Low Cost of Living

The Cost of Living Index can be a helpful tool when deciding to relocate for a new job. The COL index helps one compare living costs between different locations. This analyzes basic needs such as grocery, housing, transportation, utilities, and health. The average cost of living per state is compared against the national average cost of living baseline of 100. If COL index is below 100, it is cheaper than the national average. If it is over 100, it is more expensive than the national average.

Minnesota’s COL index is 97.5, which makes it the 26th lowest in the nation. This means it is 2.5% less expensive to live in Minnesota compared to the U.S. Mississippi is the lowest at an index of 85, and Hawaii is the highest at 184. The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center’s data shows that Minnesota’s highest cost of living is in grocery and health care expenses compared to national cost.

However, housing cost in Minnesota is significantly below the national cost. At 84.7, housing is about 15% less expensive. For example, the average American renter pays $1,338 a month as of Jan 2023. Overall rent cost for Minnesota is $1,087.

This tool by MN DEED estimates yearly basic needs cost of living by county, region, and state. The average yearly living expenses for a single person in Minnesota is $34,992. In the U.S the average cost is $38,266 per year. Which makes the average yearly cost in Minnesota about $3,234 less than the national yearly cost.

4. Wage and Labor Laws

For those who may be new to Minnesota, it is important to understand the wage and labor laws that exist in this state. According to both the federal and Minnesota government, employers are required to pay all employees at least minimum wage ($10.59) and must provide their workers with an overtime rate of one plus a half times their regular hourly wages for all hours worked over 40 in a single work week. Additional laws around breaks, working conditions, and employee rights such as discrimination make it the responsibility of the employer to ensure compliance.

As stated on the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration & Management, “The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Provisions of this civil rights act forbade discrimination on the basis of sex, as well as, race in hiring, promoting, and firing.”

Understanding the rules regarding these matters is critical for newcomers to Minnesota as they look for work. For more information visit MN Department of Labor and Industry.

5. Job Search Resources

Minnesota Dual Training Pipeline

Employees receive instruction and on-the job training from their employer. This is to support employers in creating a competency approach to the staffing needs. The program focuses on 4 high growth industries such as Advanced Manufacturing, Agriculture, Health Care services, and Information Technology. Their goal is to “expand earn-and-learn dual-training and registered apprenticeship in Minnesota.” These industry specific programs offer a wide range of occupations that meet competency standards. By utilizing the Pipeline Program, employees experience career advancement, and expand their skills. This strengthens not only individuals, but businesses and ultimately their communities.


Minnesota is also one of 33 states to participate in the Dream It. Do It. campaign recruitment strategy to increase awareness of current manufacturing positions. It was created in 2005 by the Manufacturing Institute in hopes to fill a large portion of available manufacturing jobs in the U.S.

It has increased interest in manufacturing careers and STEM opportunities amongst attendees, and 85% of  manufacturers thought the tour provided a valuable way to build interest in manufacturing. (Highway 2 West Manufacture’s Association).

Staffing Agencies

Staffing agencies are also a great resource for anyone looking to start a new job in Minnesota. They are often a great resource for finding the perfect fit in terms of skillset, experience, and cultural fit. They can help connect you with exclusive positions at many great organizations that you wouldn’t find on your own. Many of them start on a need basis but can lead to long-term employment. Opportunities are always changing so make sure to check back often and stay in communication with your recruiter.


Workshops are also a great way to build skills, ask questions, and find out more information about the current job market. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) regularly hosts both online and in-person workshops throughout the year in cities across the state. Topics include Interview Skills, Networking Connections, and Resume Writing.


All in all, Minnesota’s workforce is slowly recovering as employment is increasing. Coupled with a low unemployment rate, this makes for a strong economy with lots of opportunities. If you’re new to Minnesota, our recruiting team would be happy to discuss our current job opportunities that would fit your interests! Contact us today!