New data paints a less promising picture of Minnesota's job market

By: Adam Belz      September 26, 2014

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released its most recent Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, the higher-quality but time-delayed job statistics that go deep into the state and county level.

The numbers, now available through the first quarter of 2014, paint a less promising picture of job growth in Minnesota last year than we've been seeing in the monthly job numbers.

According to the new data, which everyone agrees is more reliable than the monthly numbers, Minnesota ranked 41st in the nation in private sector job growth from March 2013 to March 2014, with a growth rate of 0.8 percent.  That ranks last in the Midwest.  READ MORE:


Obama Administration Released Over 600 Illegal Immigrants With Criminal Convictions

Sharyl Attkisson / / August 12, 2014

During the three weeks leading up to sequestration, from February 9 to March 1, ICE released 2,226 immigrant detainees. 617 of them, 28 percent, had criminal convictions. (Photo: Keith Myers/Kansas City Star/MCT/Newscom)   More than 600 convicted criminals, including felons, were among thousands of illegal immigrants freed under the Obama administration in advance of 2013 budget cuts mandated under sequestration.

That’s according to a new report today from the inspector general for the Department of Homeland Security.

According to the IG’s report, at least two-dozen “aliens” were released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement even though they were in a “mandatory detention category.” (After an internal review, ICE later redetained them.)

The report provides a scathing portrayal of budget mismanagement and flawed processes at the highest levels inside the nation’s immigration enforcement agency.  Read More: 


MN 2014 Session Summary:  Republicans bring 'balanced' message to Minnesotans

Updated: May 19, 2014

Under the “leadership” of Governor Mark Dayton, Minnesota Democrats passed billions of dollars in new wasteful government spending leaving Minnesota families with higher bills, less opportunity, and less hope for the future.

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MINNESOTA SURPLUS: $1.23B projected, tax breaks proposed

Posted: Feb 28, 2014 10:18 AM CST Updated: Feb 28, 2014 4:14 PM CST
ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) -

Minnesota has a projected budget surplus of $1.23 billion – a $408 million improvement over the November forecast.

DFL representatives in the Minnesota House are already looking to return the surplus to taxpayers in the form of tax breaks, but Republicans argue the DFL over-taxed Minnesotans last session and should instead just "give it back."


The new budget projections show state revenue has increased by $366 million and spending has decreased by $48 million over projections.

The Minnesota Management and Budget office says growth in statewide employment and income is contributing to the growing surplus. But while state revenues are strong, budget commissioner Jim Schowalter cautions that we don't know when the next slowdown will come.


Senate Majority Leader Bakk (DFL-Cook) says the projected surplus means the state can possibly put more cash toward projects in the bonding bill. But Senate Minority Leader David Hann (R-Eden Prairie) believes the Legislature must pass a tax conformity bill and roll back business-to-business taxes before passing a bonding bill.

PHOTO: Rep. Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) with his session slogan


Republican leadership at the Capitol has already launched a #GiveItBack campaign. House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt (R-Crown) says only the DFL would raise taxes by $2.1 billion, give $500 million back and call it a tax cut.

"State government doesn't need this money," Daudt said. "Minnesota families need this money so lets give it back."

What do you think Minnesota lawmakers should do with the surplus? Join the conversation


Today's State Budget Forecast is great news for Minnesota. It also is a dramatic improvement over previous forecasts. It is the first February Forecast in seven years to project surpluses for both the current biennium (FY14/15) and the next one (FY16/17). It projects an operating surplus of $1.2 billion in the current biennium and an additional $2.6 billion surplus for the next biennium. In addition, we have paid back all of the $2.8 billion borrowed from our schools.

By contrast, shortly after I took office three years ago, the February 2011 Forecast projected a $5 billion deficit for the next biennium (FY12/13).

This remarkable turnaround resulted from significant improvements in Minnesota's economy. Contrary to some people's mythology, the budget surpluses forecast for this biennium and the next DID NOT result from last year's tax bill. Those surpluses DID result from thousands more Minnesotans working and earning higher incomes. According to this Report, Minnesota employers added 3500 jobs per month in 2012 and 3800 jobs per month in 2013. The Forecast also projects that Minnesotans' total incomes will grow by 5.7% in 2014 and another 5.8% in 2015.

There will be time next fall to argue over who deserves what credit for these exceptional improvements. I believe the credit belongs principally to the people of Minnesota. To our businessmen and women, who have added over 133,000 jobs during the past three years. To their hard-working, productive employees, who made those new investments successful. And to the teachers, health care providers, law enforcement personnel, and state and local government employees, who make Minnesota a great place in which to live, work, and raise a family.

Our actions here in St. Paul have also aided our state's economic recovery and improved many people's lives during the past three years. We raised state income taxes on only our very wealthiest citizens, the top two percent. We used part of that revenue to stop the large annual increases in property taxes for all Minnesotans. We invested most of the rest in better education. Early childhood education, all-day kindergarten, per-pupil aid increases, and tuition freezes at MnSCU and U of M campuses will all contribute to a better Minnesota for decades to come.

We also invested in more jobs and better jobs. Three state bonding bills, while less than I had recommended, took advantage of low interest rates to fund hundreds of construction projects, which are improving higher education campuses, state parks, highways, and flood control projects, while providing thousands of jobs for unemployed workers. Additionally, we made smart economic development investments that have encouraged major business expansions by 3M, Mayo Clinic, AGCO, Shutterfly, Magnetation, Price Mechanical, Viracon, Olympus and many others, which are creating many thousands of new jobs. They are some of the reasons why the Gallup Job Creation Index ranked Minnesota fifth best among the fifty states for job creation in 2013.

We have thus proven that there is a positive role for government to play in our state's economic progress. Now, we have the responsibility, and the opportunity, to extend our contribution to our state's continuing improvement, by deciding how best to allocate this biennium's $1.2 billion surplus. The individual and business tax cuts in the House tax bill are a very good start.

I will be providing my supplemental budget proposals next week. I then look forward to working with the Legislature in the best interests of Minnesota.

Read more: MINNESOTA SURPLUS: $1.23B projected, tax breaks proposed - KMSP-TV


A Quick Guide to Obama's 2015 Budget

Check out the infographic to see just a few of the disturbing things found in the proposed Obama 2015 budget.



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Look Out for Small MN Businesses

By Tony Albright, your Minnesota House Representative for District 55B

Small businesses make up a huge part of our economy and are crucial to driving Minnesota forward with strong private-sector job growth.  Our entrepreneurs are hard-working, smart, resilient and innovative.  Some of the most successful technological advances have come from our small businesses right here in Scott County.

I spend time in October touring many businesses large and small, including several small businesses in Monticello and Albertville as a member of the House Small Business Caucus.  We spoke to many business owners and employees who are worried about the future thanks to burdensome regulations and taxation from Minnesota’s Democratic leadership.

Gov. Mark Dayton and DFL lawmakers passed the largest tax increase in state history last May, jeopardizing the projected revenue growth and job creation our small businesses were planning for:  These new attacks on business owners, along with the devasting impact of unaffordable health insurance changes from Washington (Affordable Care Act aka. ObamaCare), could force many of our businesses to shut down or move operations elsewhere.  Well-paying jobs are being put at risk everyday thanks to reckless policies that ignore how our free market works.

Some of the major concerns from businesses I met with related to taxes, regulations, education and workforce training, including:

  • The medical device tax as part of the ACA
  • The tax on equipment repair as part the 2013 Omnibus Tax bill passed by the DFL-lead legislature.  Twenty-eight states do not impose such a tax.
  • Higher income taxes as part of the 2013 Omnibus Tax bill.  Ninety-two percent of the businesses pay taxes at the individual income rate.
  • Technical education and workforce training given that one in seven jobs in Minnesota comes from manufacturing.
  • Raising the minimum wage significantly.  Family-owned businesses will be faced with cutting work hours, laying-off employees or shutting down altogether.
  • Excessive regulation from state agencies that consumes too much time and resources for small businesses.



The news about the ACA can be difficult to sift through.  Not a day goes by without news of problems at our state-based ObamaCare exchange or the federal health hub,

Minnesota taxpayers are financing our newest Minnesota agency to enforce the act, MNSure, at a cost of at least $160 million.  The program has ZERO completed enrollees so far, and most who have signed up are GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE APPLICANTS, not private market health plan customers.

The bottom-line is unfortunate:  The new health law will hurt many and help few.  Just this week, it was announced 140,000 Minnesotans will lose their health plans under the law.  Nationally, its estimated about 15 million people will lose their current health plans, which could rise to as high as 93 MILLION LOSING THEIR HEALTH PLANS once the employer mandate kicks-in (according to Forbes).  Others will pay much more to cover their families than they currently pay.  Some employers will have NO CHOICE BUT TO STOP COVERING EMPLOYEES or choose lesser plans with high deductibles.  In Scott County, many families will have to choose between new expensive plans and other costs, like groceries or the heating bill.

Contact Representative Tony Albright at  or by phone at:  (651) 296-5185



October: Unemployment Ticks up Slightly to 7.3%, Still Millions of Jobs Short from Pre-Obama Numbers

Nov 08, 2013 from excerpts by Daniel Doherty

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the October jobs. All in all, the jobs report is an indication that the economy is indeed growing, but we aren’t anywhere close to where we need to be in terms of reaching 2008 employment levels, before the recession hit. Alas, we still have a long way to go.

First, the raw numbers:

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 204,000 in October, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 7.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in leisure and hospitality, retail trade, professional and technical services,manufacturing, and health care.

The jobs report greatly exceeded most economists’ expectations, but only moves the economy “from weak territory into the merely mediocre” -- a good thing, obviously. It's also worth noting that the jobless rate was also probably skewed upwards due to the partial government shutdown last month.

But the amount of jobs added is bright spot for the still struggling economy.



Black Unemployment Rises to 13 Percent

Nov 6, 2013 from excerpts by Daniel Doherty

Echoing syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer’s sentiments on ‘Special Report’ a few weeks back that Jim Crow is dead, I also believe that lowering the black unemployment rate (if it isn’t already) should be a top priority for civil rights leaders everywhere. Via CNS News and the Green Room:

The unemployment rate in the African American community climbed from 12.6 percent in July to 13.0 percent in August, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

At the same time, the number of African Americans 16 year [sic] or older who held jobs dropped from 16,318,000 in July to 16,108,000 in August--a decline of 210,000.

The labor force participation rate in the African American community dropped from 61.4 percent in July to 60.8 percent in August. The 60.8 percent African American labor force participation rate in August was the lowest that rate has been since July 1982.

When President Barack Obama took office in January 2009, the African American labor force participation rate was 63.3 percent.

The overall jobs report hardly seems encouraging, but African-American teenagers are doubtless suffering -- perhaps more than any other demographic. To that end, I eagerly await Al Sharpton’s joint statement expressing their outrage and indignation over this disturbing trend.



Just How Distorted is the U.S. Unemployment Rate Number?

September, 2013 from excerpts by Mike Shedlock

On the first Friday of every month, I go through the jobs report and note the grossly distorted statistics. For example, please see BLS in Wonderland written Friday, September 6

Every month I conclude with a couple paragraphs like these:

Grossly Distorted Statistics

Were it not for people dropping out of the labor force, the unemployment rate would be over 9%. In addition, there are 7,911,000 people who are working part-time but want full-time work.

Digging under the surface, much of the drop in the unemployment rate over the past two years is nothing but a statistical mirage coupled with a massive increase in part-time jobs starting in October 2012 as a result of ObamaCare legislation.

Wonderland Statistics

This past month I had a couple of extra paragraphs:

 Compared to recent Gallup surveys, these BLS stats regarding the base unemployment rate and the alternative measures as well are straight from wonderland. For details, please see Gallup Says Seasonally-Adjusted Unemployment Climbs to 8.6%; Who to Believe (Gallup or the BLS)?

I believe Gallup. Thus, I expect more downward revisions in jobs, and upward revisions in the unemployment rate.

The participation rate of those 25 to 54 has been in steady decline since the year 2000 except for a slight uptick in the housing boom years.  Allowing 6-7 years after high school for college education, most of those 25 should be looking for a job or have a job. Yet the trend is unmistakable.

“Not in Labor Force Want a Job” Group

To be in the labor force you have to want a job and look for a job. To be "unemployed" you have to be in the labor force. 

At the start of the recession, there were 4,648,000 people who wanted a job but were not considered unemployed. There are now 6,285,000 people who want a job now but do not have one. That is an increase of 1,637,000.
Adding just the increase back would raise the labor force to 157,123,000 from 155,486,000. It would raise the number of unemployed to 12,953,000 from 11,316,000. And it would raise the unemployment rate to 8.2%.
But why stop there?

It's All In the Definition

The definition of "unemployed" is what it is (for political reasons), but by my more practical definition "you are unemployed if you want a job and do not have one", the corresponding numbers would be as follows:

  • Labor Force: 155,486,000 + 6,285,000 = 161,771,000
  • Unemployed: 11,316,000 + 6,285,000 = 17,601,000
  • Unemployment Rate: 17,601,000 / 161,771,000 = 10.9%

Demographics sure do not explain that chart so something else must. The answer is threefold:

  1. Rampant Disability Fraud
  2. It Doesn't Pay to Work
  3. School: Kids stay in school for advanced degrees because there are no jobs, and middle-aged persons out of a job going back to school.

Rampant Disability Fraud

I have talked about disability fraud on numerous occasions. Here are a few examples:

It Doesn't Pay to Work

The second reason the unemployment rate is artificially low is "It Doesn't Pay to Work".

I wrote about this recently in Why Work for $7.25 When Welfare Pays $15.00 in 12 States and $8.00 in 33 States? Is a Low Minimum Wage the Problem?


I hardly think hiding out in school because there are no jobs (when you really want a job) should constitute someone being "not in the labor force" (yet it does).

So What's the Real Unemployment Rate?

If you use my definition, "you are unemployed if you want a job and do not have one" then the starting point is 10.9%.

But what about those who do not have a job and don't want a job because of disability fraud or welfare considerations?

Factor that in and the unemployment rate would be several points higher, say 14-15%. 

However, that does not count another 7% who have a part-time job but want a full-time job.

So if you watch the unemployment rate drop month after month, and you think the number is grossly distorted and totally void of common-sense reality, you are absolutely correct.



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