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.

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:

Continue reading “February 2022 Employment Figures – Employment & Jobs Rise”

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.

Continue reading “January 2022 Employment Figures – Employment Rises While Total Jobs Worked Falls”

Growing Area Talent Through High School Youth

Mankato Area Public Schools (MAPS) is increasing career pathway exploration by encouraging students to participate in Work-Based Learning opportunities. All high school youth are eligible to participate in activities to explore and refine skills through this unique form of learning outside the classroom. We are excited that so many local businesses have opened their doors to help youth discover and explore their futures! Our options in work-based learning provide “layered learning” for students who need additional experiences to help shape their decisions. Some of these options are listed below; additionally, employers can choose from an array of 12 partnership opportunities by completing this survey:

Individualized Career Exploration Experiences

MAPS students are encouraged to participate in exploration opportunities before extended work-based learning. Below are some of the unique ways that employers can showcase their careers and companies:

Job Shadows

A traditional 1:1 shadowing experience exploring a specific career. Students provide their own transportation.

Career Interviews

A virtual shadowing experience for 1-3 students in a career field.

Career Forums

Employers visit the high school site to share information with a small group of students (2-10) who have identified a specific career pathway of interest.

Lunch & Learns

Targeted group of students who visit multiple industries and post-secondary instiutions throughout the year to learn about career fields and programming.

Mini Site Tours

Small groups of students (2-7) who have identified an area of interest tour a company to learn more.

Note: Other exploration opportunities for students include Classroom Speakers and Classroom Field Trips

Work Experience

MAPS believes that work empowers students to build career skills (soft skills) and knowledge to be quality employees and citizens. Students earn credits for their employment. Students are required to take a Career Planning course prior or in conjunction with their work. This is available for any student in grades 9-12.

Career Internship

A Career Internship is a paid or unpaid experience taking a deeper dive into a student’s area of interest. Students earn high school credits through this model by taking career pathway coursework and then applying that skill and knowledge at a worksite helping them gain skills and experiences. An example of a career internship is our partnership with Mayo Clinic Health System. Mayo Clinic Health System Explorers are students who take a full semester to learn about a wide variety of healthcare careers by working in several departments in the Mankato Mayo Clinic Health System facility. From nursing to pharmacy, lab tech to information technology, students are seeing how their talents and interests can be applied almost anywhere. Students attend weekly seminars at the school to build their resumes and portfolios.

YOUTH APPRENTICESHIPS

These full-year or multi-year opportunities are for students who are highly motivated to work in a field. Currently, our youth apprenticeship programs are in Advanced Manufacturing. An example is our YEAP partnership (Youth Employment Acceleration Program). Students work for up to 2 years at a company, learning the various roles and responsibilities within the organization. MTU Onsite Energy, EI Microcircuits, Kato Cable, and Lindsay Window and Door are YEAP partners providing opportunities for students to take a direct hands-on approach to learning about the field of advanced manufacturing.

Last year–even with COVID–approximately 250 students participated in a work-based learning experience in the district. This number will likely grow as students move toward taking their learning in new directions and businesses continue to look for talent and consider why training the youngest of employees can benefit their organization. Through these experiences, students are developing a network of support that can help them long after they graduate. Students taking advantage of any of the work-based learning options are building their personal toolkit to be career, college, and life ready. 

Thank you for your interest in learning more about partnership opportunities at MAPS, and again, if you are interested in partnering with MAPS, please complete the survey below.

Greater Mankato Growth Sends Letter to Governor Walz

Today, Greater Mankato Growth sent a letter to Governor Tim Walz providing statistics to create awareness of talent challenges facing our region.

The Department of Employment and Economic Development has taken great strides to ensure that individuals receiving unemployment insurance are aware of the job opportunities that exist across the state.

We asked that the State implement measures to supplement the work that is being done surrounding awareness of job availability by creating enforcement measures, while offering flexibility for those still impacted by COVID-19 considerations. You can read the full letter here.

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Does Your Business Have the Right People in the Right Seats?

Over the last several months, businesses have been impacted by COVID-19 in many ways. Some industries have been impacted more severely than others. Across the board, businesses have had to act and adjust like never before. Joe Paulsen with Pinnacle Business Traction would like to help you with ensuring that your company has the Traction it needs to overcome current and future challenges.The following is part three of a guest blog series where Joe will share tips on how you can gain traction in difficult times.  

As Jim Collins and his research team found and explained in Good to Great, successful companies have “Right People” on their bus and they are all in the “Right Seats”.  I think all of us can agree with this concept, but when the labor market is tight, it is tempting to tolerate employees that truly don’t share our Core Values or can’t adequately perform the requirements of the job.  Fear of losing an employee and the prospect of having to recruit and train his/her replacement often stops leaders from having the important conversations to lay out their expectations and explain how that employee is not meeting those expectations.

  

I estimate that when you clearly articulate your expectations and show your difficult employees where they are falling short, 80% of the time those employees will modify their behaviors and actions to meet your expectations.  However 20%  will not and that means they need to leave the company.  So there is a risk in confronting problem employees, but the odds are clearly in your favor when you take action!  Also consider the message you are sending to your good employees.  If they sense that you won’t ever take action on employees that are bringing them down, they will likely be the ones that will leave your company and that is a cost you can’t afford!

Joe Paulsen (Meet Joe) and Pinnacle Business Traction’s passion is to Enrich the Lives of Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders in the Mankato area.  He has been implementing EOS since 2016 and has helped over 35 entrepreneurial organizations get everything they want from their organizations.  Please reach out to him if you are wanting more information or assistance.  joe@pbtraction.com 

GMG is offering the best-selling book Traction – Get a Grip on Your Business to members wanting to learn more about the Entrepreneurial Operating System. Please email jsprague@greatermankato.com to schedule a time to pick-up your free copy at the GMG office.

10 Disciplines for Leaders in Good & Bad Times

This is a guest blog post by Joe Paulsen from Greater Mankato Growth member business, Pinnacle Business Traction.

At the virtual Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) conference in May, my biggest take away came from the creator of EOS, Gino Wickman. He gave a keynote address titled: “Managing Human Energy Coming Out of a Crisis.” Gino provided 10 Disciplines for Leaders who want to perform at the top of his/her game in good times or challenging times. Following are the 10 Disciplines with a brief explanation:

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Mankato Career Expo 2020

Career Expo Event Logo stating "Career Expo: A Community of Opportunities"

The Career Expo, a 10th grade career exploration event, is being hosted at the Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 from 8:00am – 3:00pm in the Grand Hall. Over 1,500 students are expected to attend. This is an excellent opportunity for your company to describe the opportunities available in this region to the next generation of workers. For the Career Expo, we are looking for companies that can manage a highly interactive booth. Companies interested in volunteering to exhibit (this is a unique Career Expo in that companies are being asked only to volunteer their time, not to pay for registration, and all volunteers will receive a free lunch) can do so by following this link or by contacting Gwenn Wolters at gwolters@mnscsc.org.  Please sign up or email Gwenn by Wednesday, February 26, 2020.  Most exhibitors give away small prizes (pens/pencils) or candies to encourage student engagement, and exhibitors are asked to bring a marker to mark student BINGO cards, which are designed to increase student interaction.

A student wearing a welding facemask that functions as a virtual reality training simulator while holding a training arc welder.
An area student testing a virtual reality welding simulator.

In addition to volunteer exhibitors, there will be a game show for students at the Career Expo. Companies are being asked for a small donation of giveaways that can be used for the game show. Examples of giveaways include water bottles, stress balls, t-shirts, pens, frisbees, etc. Companies do not need to provide a giveaway in order to participate as an exhibitor.

The Career Expo will also feature My Story, an opportunity to share your career story and respond to student questions. If you are interested in volunteering as a Storyteller or in receiving more information about My Story, you can email Alison Troldahl at atrold1@isd77.org.

Schools that will be attending the event include: Mankato East High School, Mankato West High School, United South Central, Maple River, Central/Central Freedom High School, Lake Crystal Welcome Memorial, St. Peter Public Schools, Tri City United, St. Clair, Nicollet, JWP, and Madelia.

Sponsors include: Rasmussen College, Minnesota State University – Mankato, Crystal Valley Cooperative, South Central Perkins Consortium, Bolton & Menk, and South Central Workforce Council.

MN Leading Upper Midwest Population Growth

The largest economic growth hurdle for the next ten years will be availability of workforce. Historically, Minnesota has had one of the highest labor force participation rates in the country.

To capitalize on this, the size of the population needs to continue to grow.

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