Approaches to Handling Cyber Incidents

Blog written by Corporate Technologies LLC, a Greater Mankato Growth member

Balancing a Proactive and Reactive Approach to Cyber Incidents

A cyber incident is a type of security event that can harm a business like yours. Ranging from data breaches and system failures to malware attacks and phishing scams, these incidents can hinder productivity, revenue growth, and customer satisfaction.

In most cases, a cyber incident will result in data loss or downtime. This can include loss of
confidential information, customer data, or business records. In some cases, a cyber incident can also cause business interruption or financial loss.

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The Surprising Way You Can Retain Talent During the Great Resignation: Business Process Automation

Blog written by Eide Bailly, a Greater Mankato Growth Bronze Investor

From flexible schedules to compensation and benefit packages, the Great Resignation has forced organizations to rethink the way they foster employee satisfaction and maximize staff. One of the simplest answers to talent retention is making sure your employees are satisfied with their jobs. Are they able to focus on higher-value tasks or are they spending hours (or even days) on repetitive or complicated manual processes?

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2022 Legislative Session Recap: What could have been

The 2022 legislative session could be characterized in one word: disappointing. There was so much opportunity to do good work and help Minnesotans. Very little of that opportunity was seized. This may not be entirely surprising, given Minnesota is one of only two states with divided control of the legislature (Republicans have the majority in the Senate, and the Democrats have the majority in the House). But Minnesota has a tradition of compromise and it is also something that is structurally required by our state’s constitution: the state must pass a balanced budget every two years, bonding bills (borrowing money) requires a super majority of both the House and the Senate, and, of course, all legislation must be signed by the Governor. There have been hiccups along the way, but Minnesotans expect elected officials to work together and get their work done, even if a little late.

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April 2022 Employment Figures – Unemployment Hits All-Time Low

According to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) there were fewer unemployed job seekers in April 2022 than in any other month since data became available in January 1990. With only 766 unemployed, this was the first time that unemployment in Greater Mankato dropped below 1000 since November 1999 when unemployment was at 924. Due to a smaller labor force in 1999, that reflected an unemployment rate of 2.5% while the April 2022 unemployment rate fell to an all-time low of 1.3%.

Since January, the region has added 1,600 jobs and increased employment by 1,060. Between March and April, 600 jobs were added and employment increased by 268. This is shrinking the gap that exists from employment, where numbers have returned to pre-pandemic levels and jobs, where numbers have lagged behind. This shrinking gap could be caused by more people from outside the region taking jobs locally, individuals working remotely for a company outside of our region deciding to work for a local business, and individuals deciding to work multiple jobs.

Note that the difference between these two statistics is that jobs record the number of paychecks being issued by companies in Blue Earth & Nicollet County regardless of where employees live. Employment records the number of people living in Blue Earth & Nicollet County who work, regardless of where they work. A deeper explanation of this difference can be found at the end of the January employment figure report.

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March 2022 Employment Figures – Jobs & Employment Hold Mostly Steady

Preliminary figures for March were released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and showed minor changes to both jobs and employment numbers in the Greater Mankato Area. The region saw job (nonfarm payroll) growth of 200 increasing to 56,400. This follows adjustments to the February numbers that added an additional 200 jobs to what was reported in February.

Conversely, the region saw employment fall by 193 to 60,114. While this sets a historic record for the highest employment seen in March, seeing a reduction in employment between February and March is unusual for our region. The 193 person decrease reflected a reduction of 3 tenths of one percent.  A deeper explanation of the difference between these two statistics and why the number of jobs is less than employment can be found at the end of the January employment figure report.

The total labor force saw a similar decrease as 146 people exited the labor force bringing the March labor force to 61,478.

Unemployment remained at a historic March low of 1,364. Traditionally, our region only sees unemployment numbers this low between September and December. The 2.2% unemployment rate remains much lower than the state unemployment rate of 2.8% and the federal unemployment rate of 3.8%.

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Teen Connect & Mankato Job Fair – Two Opportunities in May

There are two upcoming opportunities for employers to reach potential candidates in May. On Wednesday, May 11, Mankato Area Public Schools is hosting their first-ever job fair, volunteer fair, and enrichment fair aimed at high school students. On Saturday, May 14, Greater Mankato Growth is partnering with Radio Mankato to host the third Mankato Job Fair.

Teen Connect

On Wednesday, May 11 from 9-11:30, Mankato Area Public Schools is hosting Teen Connect. This event will be an opportunity for an expected 200+ students to learn about work opportunities, volunteer opportunities, and enrichment programs like camps and clubs that are available to students.

Employers with paid summer work opportunities can register for the event for $25/table and can sign up to do onsite interviews from 11:30-12:30. More details and a signup link are available in this flyer.

Organizations with volunteer opportunities can register for $10/table.

Mankato Job Fair

Greater Mankato Growth is partnering with Radio Mankato to host another Mankato Job Fair on Saturday, May 14 from 9-1 at the Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center. This job fair is held on a Saturday to make it accessible to those looking to advance their careers and for those who live in communities outside of the region, but who may commute or move for a new opportunity. When we first held this job fair one year ago, it was the most successful job fair in the state at that time.

Employers interested in participating in the job fair can see who else is attending at MankatoJobFair.com and can register by calling Radio Mankato at 507-345-4537.

Legislative Update: Mid-Session – April 2022

We are already into the second half of the 2022 legislative session. Unfortunately there has not been a lot accomplished yet, despite the legislature setting a record for the number of bills introduced with more than 4,700 in the Senate and 4,300 in the House. It seems that legislators have a lot ideas, but have taken very little action. We have passed all the committee deadlines and the House and Senate have started to move on their omnibus bills: taxes, transportation, environment, etc. Not surprisingly, the House and Senate omnibus bills are vastly different on both policy and fiscal impact. Much work will have to be done to come together in conference committee or with leadership.

Budget Surplus

The Senate passed the first omnibus tax bill off the Senate floor in bipartisan fashion. Among other things, it permanently reduces the first tier individual income tax rate from 5.3% to 2.8% and eliminates income tax on social security income. The Senate Republicans touted this as the “largest tax cut ever,” totaling $3.38 billion this biennium and $5 billion in the FY 24/25 biennium.

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February 2022 Employment Figures – Employment & Jobs Rise

Preliminary figures for February were released Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Between January & February, Greater Mankato saw employment growth of 900 to a post-pandemic high of 60,194. Jobs (total nonfarm payroll) increased by 700 to 56,000. In short, the difference between jobs and employment is that the jobs number counts the number of paychecks being issued in Greater Mankato and employment counts the number of people who live in Mankato who work. A deeper explanation of the difference between these two statistics and why the number of jobs is less than employment can be found at the end of the January employment figure report.

Unemployment decreased by 342 and the labor force grew by 558. The growth in employment and labor force comes on top of January numbers that have been adjusted up by 200 since they were released last month.

The employment numbers in our region and the jobs numbers in our region paint two very different pictures of the talent shortage. Employment is at its highest point since the beginning of the pandemic and is down by less than 400 compared to February 2020. This tells us that the vast majority of people in our region have returned to work in some form. In contrast, jobs are down by 2,800 compared to February 2020. This helps explain why there are so many businesses short workers despite the labor force return in Greater Mankato. There are a number of possible reasons for this difference:

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January 2022 Employment Figures – Employment Rises While Total Jobs Worked Falls

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released preliminary January data for their Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) and Current Employment Statistics (CES) reports. In these reports, we saw that the number of employed individuals living in the Mankato-North Mankato MSA rose by 366 while the number of jobs being worked (total nonfarm payroll) in our region dropped by 900 (information on the difference between employed individuals & jobs data can be found at the end of this blog post).

The number of non-farm jobs being worked in our region dropped from 56,300 in December 2021 to 55,400 in January 2022, a 1.6% decrease. In contrast, the number of employed individuals rose from 58,716 to 59,082 over the same period, a 0.6% increase. Individuals entering the labor force rose by an even higher 1.1% (688) people. Between December 2021 and January 2022, the labor force rose from 60,050 to 60,638 – its highest point since November 2020.

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Legislative Update – March 2022

The legislature is off and running full steam ahead! This the second year of the 2-year (biennial) legislative session. There are several themes that have been consuming the discussion early on: budget surplus, bonding, unemployment insurance trust fund, redistricting, and COVID closures. Here is a brief update on each area.

Budget Surplus

In 2021, the state passed a 2-year budget of $52 billion, a record level of spending. A key part of our budget is revenue, how much the state collects in taxes, fees, federal funds, etc. The state uses a forecasting model to try and make an educated guess of how much money will be collected (and spent) during the biennium. The state then updates their projections throughout the year with periodic “budget forecasts,” which update the revenue and expense projections. In November 2021, the state projected a budget surplus of $7.7 billion. As of Monday February 28th (the “February forecast”), that budget surplus jumped to $9.3 billion. The legislature does not technically need to do anything, they already passed a budget in 2021. However, ideas range from giving it back in the form of rebate checks, reducing taxes, or spending on new or existing programs. Governor Walz has proposed nearly tripling proposed rebate checks (“Walz Checks”) to $500 and $1,000 for qualifying individuals and couples. Senate Republicans have proposed permanently reducing the first tier individual income tax rate from 5.3% to 2.8% and eliminating income tax on social security income. House Speaker Melissa Hortman and DFL leaders have been cautious and suggested putting more in reserves while also providing unspecified support for families who continue to struggle through the pandemic.

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