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!

Read More

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.

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

Greater Mankato Growth Inc. recently announced a new web platform, Kato X, for talent recruitment and tourism. The image above shows the draft prototype of the platform.

The virtual reality software highlights area amenities and shows potential residents or visitors unique attractions our region has to offer…in a really cool way.

Here are the Top 10 reasons why you should check out Kato X:

10.  Show “Cousin Paul in Missoula” how versatile and vibrant the community is in Mankato, MN. He’s been talking up Missoula over Thanksgiving…now you can make the case for your (home) town.

9.  Not familiar with Greater Mankato? Check out the list of Tour Stops: from the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota to the CityArt Sculpture Walk, from our rivers, lakes and trails to the Verizon Center…all making Greater Mankato a wonderful place to live, work and play.

8.  Check out the list of recent awards and accolades bestowed up Greater Mankato…everything from fantastic wineries to amazing parks.

7.  Listen to testimonials from families who chose to move to Greater Mankato. What do they like about the area that made them decide to call our community home.

6.  Okay, I know I want to live here, but…where? Get a comprehensive list of housing resources for your big move.

5.  I’ve been hired by a company in Greater Mankato but I don’t know where to get daycare or set up utilities.  We’ve got you covered with information on common relocation questions.

4.  Where are my kids going to go to school? Get connected to public and private school options.

3. What are my healthcare options in Greater Mankato? Find all the top tier healthcare providers in the area.

2. Find the “hidden Easter eggs.” Each tour stop has multiple “activation icons” where you can click to learn more about Greater Mankato.

1. Seeing is believing! Check out the enhanced 360° videos and photos, or the assortment of aerial imagery that brings Greater Mankato to life — right on your computer or mobile device.

Kato X is going to be big… four to five million sets-of-eyes-big. If your business is interested in subscribing to Kato X to assist in the recruitment of talent or for driving customer traffic, visit


First Quarter Greater Mankato Economic Barometer

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.

Read More

Greater Mankato Growth staff in cooperation with City Center Partnership staff and volunteers recently completed a Marketplace Analysis for the downtown (City Center) of Mankato and North Mankato.

The document has a broad audience.  On the inside cover, there is a list of resources for businesses (an entrepreneur or a new start up).  The Greater Mankato area has a strong history of entrepreneurial success and that environment needs to be continually supported.

Additionally, there is many statistics showing the activity and traffic within the City Center for local realtors or developers to recruit new businesses to the area.  Finally, there are examples of past successful projects and marketplace behaviors for business owners who are not familiar with the market and are looking to relocate or expand.

The City Center Marketplace Analysis is available here.  The document is also being distributed in hard copy format to area businesses in the Business Walk.

Yesterday, volunteers from the City Center Partnership’s Business Development Committee helped launch a “best practice” for Business Retention and Expansion from the International Economic Development Council.  The Business Walk is pretty much what it sounds like.  Trained volunteers visit with business owners about their business, learn about their products and services, and compile any ideas or concerns.  Greater Mankato Growth staff will follow up and connect the business owner to the appropriate resource.

Most importantly, the visit is a “Thank You” to the business owner for their investment into the community.  Each business was provided a Marketplace Analysis of the City Center that includes a list of resources for business owners.

Over the coming year, Business Walks will be scheduled for different neighborhoods of the City Center.  Neighborhoods will receive a letter which shares when the volunteers will be in their neck of the woods.

If you’re interested in visit from Greater Mankato Growth staff to talk about resources or information, please email


Why NOT to Build a Wall – The Economic Necessity of Immigration Reform

Forum-Series-Logo_SMJoin Greater Mankato Growth and your fellow colleagues for our May Public Affairs Forum Luncheon The Economic Necessity of Immigration Reform.



Wednesday, May 3
11:30 am – 1 pm
Minnesota State University, Centennial Student Union, Room 245

Register here

Hit read more for additional information. Read More

Fourth Quarter Greater Mankato Economic Barometer

barometric_surveyFour 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.

The fourth quarter, October – December, was strong for the Greater Mankato economy. The strong end of year was forecasted in the previous survey as well, as business projected that nearly all metrics would be up versus the same time last year. Read More