Today at the Minnesota State Capitol, Governor Mark Dayton and Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben announced that businesses looking to expand their operations and hire new workers in Minnesota may now qualify for assistance from the newly-created Minnesota Job Creation Fund. This pay-for-performance business development initiative, administered by the state's Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), will help create an estimated 5,000 new jobs statewide and attract another $450 million of private investment into Minnesota's growing economy.
"Over the last three years Minnesota has added more than 122,700 new jobs, regaining all the jobs that were lost during the Great Recession," said Governor Dayton. "But we cannot afford to rest on our laurels now. The strength of our economy and the security of middle class Minnesota families depend on the investments we make today to accelerate job growth and get every Minnesotan back to work. Every job matters; and that is why initiatives like the Minnesota Job Creation Fund are so important."
The $24 million Minnesota Job Creation Fund, proposed by Governor Dayton and passed by the Minnesota Legislature in 2013, will replace the state's JOBZ program, which is set to expire in 2015. The new fund will provide up to $1 million to businesses after they meet certain criteria, including minimum requirements for job creation and private investment. Under the program, businesses must create at least 10 full-time jobs and invest at least $500,000 in their own developments to be eligible for financial assistance.
"The Minnesota Job Creation Fund will not only provide access to capital for businesses that need assistance to expand or move their operations to Minnesota, but it will add high-quality jobs to the state's economy," said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben. "This pay-for-performance tool will continue the economic momentum we have built since recovering from the recession."
The Department of Employment and Economic Development is currently accepting Minnesota Job Creation Fund applications from businesses seeking financial assistance to expand or locate in Minnesota. Businesses engaged in manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, and technology may be eligible for assistance. Companies must work with the local government (city, county or township) where a project is located in order to be eligible for assistance. More details about the Minnesota Job Creation Fund, including program requirements and application materials, are available on the DEED website at www.tinyurl.com/JobCreationFund.
Building on the Momentum of Minnesota's Growing Economy
Today's announcement comes as key indicators continue to show strong economic growth across Minnesota. From continued job creation, to business expansions statewide, to record exports of home-grown products, Minnesota's business climate is showing strong and consistent gains. Some of those key measures include the following:
Strong Job Growth -- According to the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), over the last three years Minnesota has gained more than 122,700 new jobs, regaining all of the jobs that were lost during the Great Recession.
Lower Unemployment -- In January 2011, unemployment in Minnesota was 6.8 percent. As of November 2013, Minnesota had the ninth-lowest unemployment rate in the nation at 4.6 percent. This is the lowest Minnesota's unemployment rate has been since 2007. And as of November 2013, Minnesota had the third-highest labor force participation rate in the country.
Record Exports -- In December 2013, Minnesota exports of manufactured, agricultural, and mining products set a third-quarter record of $5.2 billion, climbing 0.8 percent from the same period a year earlier -- posting faster growth than the national rate. Minnesota's growth in exports will be aided by four Minnesota trade offices in China, Brazil, Korea, and Germany.
Improving Business Index -- A recently released Creighton University study showed that Minnesota manufacturers recorded their 13th-straight month of growth in December 2013, and posted a healthy gain in the state's monthly business index (growing from 55.7 in November to 58.9 in December). An index lower than 50 indicates economic decline; an index higher than 50 signals economic growth.
Competitive Business Climate -- Forbes recently ranked Minnesota the eighth-best state to do business in the United States, and the U.S. Department of Labor reported Minnesota had the fifth-fastest growing economy in the nation in 2012.
Business Expansions Statewide -- Additional business expansion initiatives and a growing state economy have led a number of companies to announce their plans to expand or relocate in Minnesota over the last several months. A few of those recent announcements include:
AGCO -- Over the last two years, AGCO in Jackson, Minnesota, has nearly doubled its workforce to over 1,400 employees. New funding from the state's Housing and Job Growth Initiative will help build a new housing complex in Jackson to help ensure the company's growing workforce has access to quality, affordable homes.
Olympus -- More than 100 jobs will be created when Olympus expands its research, development, and manufacturing facility in Brooklyn Park. The company broke ground on its new $37 million, 180,000 square foot facility in November 2013.
Viracon -- This architectural glass manufacturer is at work on a 100,000 square foot expansion of its manufacturing facility in Owatonna. The $30 million project is expected to retain between 500 and 800 existing jobs in the city, and be operational by August 2014.
WFSI, Inc. -- Based in Sauk Rapids, WFSI, Inc. is expanding by acquiring an existing building. The company focuses on critical welding projects and provides manufacturing and engineering services for the energy and defense industries. The expansion is projected to result in 32 new jobs over the next two years.
Price Industries -- Manitoba-based Price Industries announced in December its plans to open a new design center in Maple Grove -- creating 40 new Minnesota jobs.