American Experiment leads the conversation on Minnesota’s economy

This week I’ve been writing about a recent report by labor market analytics firm Lightcast titled “Minnesota’s Vanishing Workforce.” It is worth reading and echoes our 2019 report, “Minnesota’s Workforce to 2050.”

As Axios notes in a helpful summary;

The study…paints a dire picture of the state’s economy over the next decade as the current worker shortage turns into “an outright labor shortage crisis,” the authors wrote. 

The driving force behind the looming shortage is the retirement of baby boomers. All of them will be 65 or older by 2030.


The report finds that “their departures won’t be completely backfilled due to declining birth rates and net out-migration.” Indeed:

A state needs a birth rate of 2.1 per woman to “replace” its population, according to the report. Minnesota’s birth rate has been falling since 2009, hitting 1.75 in 2021.

On Monday, I wrote about how, while it is true that Minnesota’s birthrate is declining, it is also true that it isn’t declining as much here as in other states.

Declining employment

Axios also notes of the report that it:

…found that labor participation rates have fallen in the state, especially for people in their early 20s.

On Tuesday, I wrote about how we at the Center had made this point previously: That, in fact:

Minnesota’s employment has declined most among 20 to 24-year-olds, with the fifth biggest fall in the United States.


Finally, Axios notes that:

…with total net migration of -17,365 between 2020 and 2022, Minnesota is in the top 10 states with the highest domestic outflows in the country.

This, too, has long been a consistent theme of the Center’s work. As I noted yesterday, in December 2021, I wrote that:

New Census Bureau population data show that Minnesota’s population grew by just 225 people in 2021One particularly alarming aspect of this was a loss of 13,453 residents to other states. This was our state’s biggest net loss of domestic migrants to other states in at least 30 years. [Emphasis added]

In December 2022, I wrote that:

New Census Bureau data show that our state smashed this record in 2022. From mid-2021 to mid-2022, 19,400 Minnesota residents left for other states, by far the highest number in at least three decades.

In our 2021 report “Taxes and Migration – Minnesotans on the Move to Lower Tax States,” we noted that one reason behind the exodus of Minnesotans is our states high taxes.

“Tomorrow’s news today”

There is nothing wrong with tooting your own horn as long as you don’t make a habit of it. It has been the Center’s contention since before I started here in 2017 that Minnesota’s much praised economy was not, in fact, as strong as all that. Over a course of years, we have raised issues, like declining youth employment and high rates of out-migration, which are, only now, being more widely discussed.

I wrote this week that if you have been following our work findings like Lightcast’s won’t surprise you in the least. If you want to know what Minnesotans will be discussing tomorrow, look at what we are discussing today.