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Something else Minnesotians can brag about.

It appears that CNNMoney compiled a list of the Top 25 places to live. And Five suburbs of the Twin Cities have made the list. Now I don´t always agree with these lists (in fact – rarely) that continually come out, but that being said, it does say something that FIVE Minnesota cities made the national list of 25.

Eden Praire ranked third overall, beat out by only Mckinney TX and Carmel, IN for 2nd and 1st respectively. Some of the criteria used in the rankings included things like crime rates, health care quality, public education, and of course employment opportunities.

Also in the top 25 were Maple Grove coming in at #22, Lakeville at 19, Eagon at 14 and Woodbury (of course) with a ranking of 11.

A surprising statistic, to me anyway, was the #24 ranking Eden Praire had in the catagory of “top earning towns”. According to the survey, they have an $116,00 average family income and an average house price of $264,500. That’s a tad bit better than my neighborhood.

850 more jobs going

General Mills employs about 35,000 people and 5,500 of those are in Minnesota. They have announced they are cutting 850 jobs and half of those cuts are going to be from the Twin Cities operation.

Sales for General Mills have increased 13% while the company has increased prices in an effort to keep up with rising inflation. CEO Ken Powell says this is the highest rate it has been in 30 years.

But even with the increased revenue, profits fell a bit due to the higher commodity costs.

Minnesota jobs

The Twin Cities had amoung the lowest levels of unemployment in the nation. According to a study of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Cities ranked 3rd lowest unemployment numbers for this past October. The rate for the entire state came in at 6.4% while the Cities recorded a low 5.4% rate.


Only Omaha (4.3%) and Madison (5.1%) came in lower. Sounds like really good news – but what I haven’t seen yet is pay stats for all these jobs. My fear is that that they also rank lowest in pay compared to other States. I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but from what I’ve seen the “high” number of Minnesota jobs available in the area are lower paying. And while low paying jobs are better than no jobs at all, I just don’t want the area to become a magnet for low pay companies.

A sign of the times

Well surprise surprise – the National Labor Relations Board has decided in favor of American Crystal Sugar Co in the company’s dispute with the Union representing it’s workforce. The workers have been locked out for 2 months and is being run by “replacement” workers. I imagine the union members have another name for them.

Aug 1 the Union rejected the company’s contract offer. Then American Crystal locked out the 1300 union employees. The Union claims that the Company hasn’t been negotiating in good faith. The NLRB ruled that the Union didn’t provide adequate evidence to this allegation.

I can’t really claim to know the specifics of this case, and I suppose it is possible the Unions demands are excessive. But from everything that has happened and is happening throughout the country in relation to collective bargaining, I would be surprised if their demands were really that outrageous.

Just looks like a continuation of the trend of weaker and weaker unions. All depends on your perspective as to whether you think that is a good thing or not.

The 7 Minnesota companies who employ the most people.

Fairview Health Services of Minneapolis ranked 7th

employs over 20,000 Minnesotans

Wal-Mart is 6th with almost 20,500.

Allina Health System employs 23,302 people in Minnesota and comes in 5th in the list of largest employers.

Target Corp is 4th employing 30,500 Minnesotans.

Mayo Foundation of Rochester accounts for 32,893 jobs for Minnesota and is 3rd on the list.

The good ole Federal Government comes in numero dos with 34,000 jobs for Minnesotans. (And I can only guess they provide, by far, the best pay for their employees.

And who is #ONE in the number of jobs provided to Minnesotans? The State of Minnesota, of course. The state government accounts for 40,208 jobs. (For the time being anyway. It will be interesting to see what the next few years bring).

We need more of this.

With help from a federal program called the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, around 591 Minneapolis homes are being targeted for rehab and future development (68%), demolition (19%), and the remainder offered to potential buyers with financial incentives (13%).

These are the types of pro-active measures I like to see. The homes are in some of the worst affected by foreclosures and this can provide powerful incentives, not only for buyers to get back in the market, but also in areas that have been hit the hardest. The only way these areas of the city have a chance to rebound is to get people in who will continue to work and take pride in their neighborhoods.

The city is planning a tour (along with LiveMSP) to show 41 of these homes. I hope they have a huge turnout and are encourage more of these policies, here and across the country.

Maps of the homes and route can be found here.

MN employment

According to a headline in todays Star Trib, 125 MN businesses received govt money to create jobs, but failed to create the expected MN employment. Just a quick rundown of the MN empolyment numbers: – over a five year period (’04-’09) 650 deals that gave companies tax breaks, grants or low interest loans. 125 of those companies fell short of delivering the expected jobs.

The conclusion the author seems to come to is that the results show the limitations of government programs to spur business and jobs – and he throws in a “economists say” to make it all so authentic.  (Not sure which economists say this as he doesnt provide any details).

But I think a clue as to what may account for these limitations is found further on in the article.

“Like Minnesota, most states have no policy on how best to spend economic development dollars” … “It’s frighteningly common, in fact” and the telling quote… “It often amounts to political pork being doled out on a geographic or political basis rather than on a strategic basis.”

And that to me says it all – it is not so much a demonstration of the limitations of government to help spur MN employment, as it is limitaions of BAD government. If across these great United States we could get our leaders to reduce the influence of that Political Pork being doled out on that Political Basis, I think our governments would surely be more efficient and more of the citizens would benifit.

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