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Retail jobs growing in MN but employers struggle to retain workers

Bricks-and-mortar stores have been struggling nationwide in recent years, but retail jobs are still growing in central Minnesota. Retail employment and businesses in the area grew at a faster pace than any other Minnesota region in 2017, accordin...

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Bricks-and-mortar stores have been struggling nationwide in recent years, but retail jobs are still growing in central Minnesota.

Retail employment and businesses in the area grew at a faster pace than any other Minnesota region in 2017, according to a story by Luke Greiner in Trends magazine.

Altogether, the region had just over 36,000 retail jobs last year. Central Minnesota has added 760 net new retail jobs since the industry bottomed out in 2010 in the wake of the recession.

The largest-employing retail subsector in central Minnesota is general merchandise stores (7,432 jobs), followed by food and beverage stores (6,600 jobs) and motor vehicle parts dealers (5,300 jobs). Together these three subsectors account for more than half of all retail trade jobs in the region.

One challenge for retail employers is recruiting and retaining workers because of relatively low starting wages. The median wage offer for all types of openings in the retail trade industry was just $11.68 in fourth quarter 2017, compared with $13.85 across all industries.

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Among the better-paying jobs in the sector are first-line supervisors, who earn a median salary of $18.25 per hour. General store managers - among the relatively few occupations in retail that require post-secondary education - earn a healthy median wage of $36.65 per hour.

DEED projections indicate retail trade will continue to see job growth in the region between now and 2024. More workers will be needed as long as consumer confidence and the economy remain strong.

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