Greater Mankato Growth Blog

In July, the State Demographic Center released their population estimates for cities and townships in Minnesota.

Below is a summary of the growth of all the cities in Blue Earth and Nicollet Counties: Read More

…in front of Upper Midwesterners, Southern Minnesotans, potential new residents and tourists by having a presence in Kato X.  Kato X is a virtual tour web platform and robust marketing campaign – where seeing is believing!

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Four times a year Greater Mankato Growth distributes a survey to area businesses regarding multiple metrics in order to gather how the economy performed during previous quarter and what businesses project for the upcoming quarter.  Additionally, a unique inquiry is posed in each quarter to gain topical insight to the local economy.

Respondents provided feedback on six metrics regarding their business for the First Quarter:  Revenue, Profit, Employment Change, Capital Expenditures, R&D Spending and New Customer Acquisition.

Below the overall trend for the economy is presented first for each metric, followed by industries showing noticeable change. Noticeable change means a majority of businesses in that sector responded with “up” or “down.”

Revenue – 77% up or same (up 55%, same 22%). Industries experiencing the most change (up or down) were Manufacturing with 58.3% of businesses saying their revenue was up as compared to last year. 44.4% of Professional Service businesses say their revenue was down compared to last year in the First Quarter.

Profit – 49% up.  Industries experiencing the most change (up or down) were Manufacturing with 66.7% of businesses saying their revenue was up as compared to last year.

Employment Change – Steady with little change (same 47.3%). 39% of industries were up and only 14% of industries were down.  58.3% of Manufacturing businesses were up and 40% of Healthcare businesses were up.

Capital Expenditures – 85% Up or Same (37% Up, 48% Same). Manufacturing (58.3%) saw noticeable positive change in capital investment.

R&D Spending – Steady with little change (same 67%).  50% of Manufacturers increased their R&D investments.

New Customer Acquisition – 86% up or same (up 51%, same 35%). Several sectors had noticeable positive growth in this metric.  Finance/Insurance (58.3%), Health Care (80%) and Manufacturing (50%) all grew.

Manufacturing was positive in nearly all metrics.

Second Quarter 2017 Forecast

Revenue – Ag and Manufacturing had the most positive outlook, 44% of Professional/Tech service businesses forecast a decline.

Profit –  Manufacturing and Healthcare has the most positive outlook.

New Customer Acquisition – All industries predicted growth or remaining steady.

Employment Levels – Manufacturing predicted growth, while the remaining industries forecasted to be the same.

Capital Expenditures – Forecasted to remain the same.

R&D Spending – Forecasted to be the same.


Business Concerns

Businesses were asked to rank their level of concern on a scale of 1 -5 (5 being high) among 6 areas:  workforce availability, Minnesota regulations/permitting, labor costs, operational costs, state political climate and national political climate. For the second quarter in a row, Workforce Availability is the top concern.  The Manufacturing sector, which reported many positive metrics this quarter, overwhelmingly recognized this as their top cocern.  This infers that Manufacturing industry growth could continue as long as employees can be found.

The Greater Mankato Business Community has mobilized on this topic and is working to impact labor shortages in a comprehensive manner.

Concern Points
Workforce 278
Labor Costs 234
National political climate 227
Minnesota Regulations, permitting 214
Operational costs 214
State political climate 213

Quarterly Questions:  “Of your workforce need, which category is the most pressing?”  AND “Of that workforce need, what level of education is necessary?”

There were four categories to choose from for the first question:  entry labor, skilled labor, technical specialists, experienced specialists, other.39% of businesses replied that “experienced specialists” was the most pressing need.

There were four categories to choose from for the second question:  high school or equivalent, two-year education or certificate, four-year degree or higher, just experience in position regardless of education.  40.6% of businesses specified that “four-year degree or higher” was the necessary level of education for their most pressing need.

Below is the breakdown of needs by industry:

Ag – Experienced Specialists

Manufacturing – Entry labor or Skilled labor

Retail – Entry labor

Information – Skilled labor and some experienced specialists

Finance and Insurance – Experienced specialists

Professional/Technical Services – Experienced Specialists

Educational services – mix of skilled labor and technical specialists

Health Care – Mix of everything

Arts/Entertainment – Mix of entry labor and Other

Accommodation and food service – Entry labor

Other services – Mix of everything


The Greater Mankato Growth Economic Barometer was sent electronically to nearly 2,000 area business leaders from July 27 –  August 7 with 62 reporting. The survey included GMG members and non-members as respondents.

Breakfast With Congressman Tim Walz

Walz headshotJoin Greater Mankato Growth and your fellow colleagues for the August Public Affairs Forum Breakfast with Representative Tim Walz.

Monday, August 21
7:30 – 9:00 am
Verizon Hall, Room 245 (new event center)

Register Here Read More

Health Care Forum

Forum-Series-Logo_SMJoin Greater Mankato Growth and your fellow colleagues for our July Public Affairs Forum Luncheon Health Care: What’s Going On And What It All Means.

Tuesday, July 18
11:30 am – 1:00 pm
Mankato Clinic Administration Office
1400 Madison Avenue, Suite 324B

Register here

Hit ‘read more’ for additional information Read More

Weigh In On Mankato Transit

busesThe City of Mankato is in the process of gathering input for their transit development plan which will set the direction for the system for the next four to five years. The city would like to have business input during this process and is hosting two opportunities for business leaders to provide feedback. Read More

GMG Member Benefit: Certificate of Origin Certification

free_tradeDoing business overseas that requires a Certificate of Origin stamp? As a member business of Greater Mankato Growth, that service is included in your membership. A Certificate of Origin is an important international trade document that certifies goods in a particular export shipment are wholly obtained, produced, manufactured or processed in a particular country. GMG will certify your paperwork at no cost ($100 value per certificate). Non-GMG members pay a premium of $10 per stamp. Contact our Director of Member Relations & Office Operations, Karen Toft. Read More

Highway 14 Makes Progress at Legislature

FromTheDomeAfter several years of gridlock, the Legislature and Governor came to an agreement this year on a transportation bill that injects much needed funding into our state’s transportation network. The bottom line for Highway 14: there is funding to keep working on the four-lane expansion from Rochester to New Ulm, but not enough to finish all of the remaining two-lane segments.    Read More

ADA Law Passed: New Mandatory Notice Requirement May Result in Fewer Lawsuits, Greater Accessibility

FromTheDomeMore than seventy businesses in our area over the past three years have been targeted with abusive lawsuits alleging accessibility violations. To help prevent these lawsuits, Greater Mankato Growth has been pursuing a two-prong strategy. First, we’ve worked to ensure our businesses have the information and resources they need to be compliant with the law (be sure to check out our blog post on how you can self-audit your business). Second, we’ve partnered with the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce to pursue legislation to reduce or eliminate the abusive lawsuits.

This year, new legislation was passed that provides new protections for businesses and builds upon legislation passed last year. Specifically, the legislation signed into law this year changes the Minnesota Human Rights Act by requiring that a person seeking to sue a business for removal of an accessibility barrier first give notice of the barrier.  Read More

Tax Relief Signed Into Law

FromTheDomeGovernor Dayton took action Tuesday on all the major bills sent to him – signing all the budget bills and tax bills to avoid a government shutdown. The Governor did veto a bill that would have preempted local governments from setting their own labor standards.

However, negotiations may not be done as Gov. Dayton line-item vetoed the House and Senate legislative budgets in an attempt to force them back to the table to negotiate some issues he has concerns with. Legislative leadership already has indicated that it will likely go to court to challenge Dayton’s line-item veto of the legislative appropriations as unconstitutional due to the separation of powers.

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