Southeast Minnesota's Economic Forecast: Lots of Growth

October 09, 2018 05:45 PM

(ABC 6 News) - Southeast Minnesota will keep growing.

That's what a new study by the Southeastern Minnesota League of Municipalities (SEMLM) forecasts.


“The number of new jobs that are coming in, how many jobs are currently unfilled, the need for housing in the region to house all the new employees that will be coming, because we can’t even fill these jobs with our current level of population,” all play a role in the region’s future, said Brenda Johnson, executive director for SEMLM.

When people think about growth and development in southeastern Minnesota, most minds go to the Mayo Clinic and the $6 billion Destination Medical Center initiative.

In reality, the reach goes beyond Rochester.

“We’re very thankful for the development that is going on in Rochester, but it’s also going to be going on in the towns surrounding Rochester,” said Rep. Greg Davids.

“DMC gets a lot of press, and deservedly, because it is a big project, however, there’s a lot else going on. There are things going on in Goodhue County, Mower County, all over the place,” Johnson said.

The study shows the population of southeastern Minnesota growing by more than 50,000 in the next 25 years.

As far as jobs, there are already 10,000 positions unfilled, and by 2040, there will be an additional 44,000.

One way to fill the need for workers, the study says, is to focus on the immigrant population.

“We’re growing in southeast Minnesota," said Chris Giesen, vice president of Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA). "We need more people to fill the jobs, we need more houses and apartments to fill the needs of the people who are going to come here to work, we need more investment for things to do, whether that’s in the tourism or the service side."

To meet housing needs, 14,000 additional units above the current level of growth are needed.

“If you look at our current level of housing growth, we need to bump it up tremendously,” Johnson said.

If smaller towns want to attract new residents, the study says they’ll need to focus on tourism and increasing amenities.

“There’s going to be tremendous job growth in this area, and the question is, how do we plan for that,” said Davids.


Alice Keefe

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