Latest Posts





Facing a ‘labor shortage’, Minnesota’s employers are raising pay and benefits

I wrote recently that ‘Minnesota’s ‘labor shortage’ offers the opportunity for higher wages‘. An article in the Star Tribune this month, titled ‘Staff-starved factories in Minnesota, U.S. finally offer higher wages, perks‘, suggests that this is happening.

The Star Tribune reports

As the job market continues to tighten, more factories are turning to a recruiting tool they have been avoiding: money.

Take Spectro Alloys Corp. in Rosemount. The aluminum recycling firm has upped its recruitment budget and raised starting pay nearly 10 percent — it even raffled off a new ATV to job applicants.

“The hiring environment is extremely challenging right now,” said Luke Palen, president of Spectro, which recently added 5,000 square feet and needs more workers to meet demand. “A hot market for recycled aluminum and even hotter local job market is forcing the Spectro team to think outside of the box when it comes to finding new members.”

Spectro’s new starting wage is $18.50 an hour. New hires also get a 401(k) plan match, profit-sharing and other benefits.

“Everyone we do business with is struggling to find employees,” he said. “I think we’ll see the impact of the tight labor market result in some impressive manufacturing wage growth this year.”

We are often told that Minnesota’s supposed ‘labor shortage’ is a problem for the state. To tackle it, employers in higher productivity, higher wage jobs will need to lure workers from lower productivity, lower wage jobs. Better pay and conditions, as we see in Spectro’s case, will need to be part of this. So will better information for young and low skilled workers about these opportunities. Our Great Jobs project works to do just this.

These measures will have macro benefits as well, helping to raise Minnesota’s below average labor productivity. If we can keep a growing economy with rising demand for labor and increased wages, the ‘labor shortage’ might be a nice problem to have.

John Phelan is an economist at the Center of the American Experiment. 




Upcoming Events

  • YLC Curling Event

    Location: Chaska Curling Center 3210 Chaska Blvd, Chaska, MN 55318

    Grab your broom and stone and join the Young Leadership Council for an evening of Curling at the Chaska Curling Center! $40 registration includes: Instruction Ice time and equipment Appetizers (Curling Center Bar will be available to purchase drinks) The event will begin with 15-20 minutes of classroom instruction on curling rules and basics followed by 20-30 minutes on the ice for practice and drills. Instructors will be on hand the whole evening to guide your games. Dress Code: Bring a pair of clean-on-the-bottom shoes to change into. No leather soles or metal lace hooks Loose fitting or strechy clothes…

    Register Now
  • The Diversity Delusion

    Location: Hilton Minneapolis 1001 South Marquette Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55403

    Please join Center of the American Experiment on Wednesday, April 24th at the Hilton Hotel for a lunch forum with Heather Mac Donald as she discusses her new book, The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture.  Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, a contributing editor of City Journal, and a New York Times bestselling author. She is a recipient of the 2005 Bradley Prize. Mac Donald’s work at City Journal has covered a range of topics, including higher education, immigration, policing, homelessness and homeless advocacy, criminal-justice reform, and race…

    Register Now
  • 2019 Annual Dinner Featuring Nigel Farage

    Location: Hilton Minneapolis 1001 South Marquette Avenue Minneapolis, MN 55403

    Purchase Tickets Here

    Register Now