Region 1 - Key Industries and Sectors

wholesale trade

Key Industries in the Regional Economy for Northwest Minnesota are:

  • Healthcare/Social Assistance                    
  • Manufacturing                      
  • Agriculture              
  • Wholesale Trade            

Distinguishing Industries in the Regional Economy for Northwest Minnesota are:

  • Pipeline Transportation  
  • Fishing/Hunting/Trapping      
  • Transportation Equipment Manufacturing.

NOTE: At a regional stakeholder meeting, it was also noted that education should also be a focus industry in this region.

With 36,817 jobs at 1,464 establishments, healthcare and social assistance is the largest employing industry in Northwest Minnesota, accounting for 17 percent of total jobs in the region. That is approximately the same concentration of healthcare and social assistance in the state. However, Northwest lost jobs in this sector since 2010, while the state added nearly 35,000 healthcare jobs in that time, an 8.3 percent increase.  Due to the region’s older population, the largest sector was nursing and residential care facilities, followed by ambulatory health care services, hospitals, and social assistance.

The second largest industry in Northwest is manufacturing, which has 28,544 jobs at 819 establishments, after expanding 12.3 percent since 2010. This rate of growth was nearly twice that for manufacturing at the state level, which grew 6.7 percent. At $46,488, average annual wages were over $10,000 higher in manufacturing than the total of all industries in the area.    Retail trade is the third largest industry, with 27,670 jobs at 2,404 establishments. Wages are relatively low in retail trade, and the industry has seen very little job growth in Northwest in recent years. 

Other important industries in Northwest include educational services, accommodation and food services, public administration, wholesale trade, construction, other services, transportation and warehousing, finance and insurance, and agriculture. Thirteen of the 20 main industries in the region added jobs since 2010, with huge gains in manufacturing, wholesale trade, administrative support – which includes temporary staffing agencies – and waste management services, construction, agriculture, and management of companies. Even more impressive, 16 of the 20 industries gained jobs in the past year, led by ongoing gains in wholesale trade, construction, manufacturing, and accommodation and food services. Only retail trade suffered notable job losses from 2013 to 2014 as the region’s economy strengthened.  

Northwest Minnesota stands out in the state for its higher concentrations of employment in healthcare, manufacturing, agriculture, and wholesale trade. Northwest Minnesota has 8 percent of total state employment, but over 40 percent of the state’s jobs in pipeline transportation; fishing, hunting and trapping; and transportation equipment manufacturing; leading to location quotients above 5.0  

The 26-county Northwest Minnesota Planning Region is projected to grow 5.9 percent from 2012 to 2022, a gain of 14,999 new jobs.

The largest and fastest growing industry is expected to be health care and social assistance, which may account for nearly 40 percent of total projected growth in the region. Northwest is also expected to see significant employment growth in retail trade, construction, wholesale trade, and agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting. In contrast, the region is expected to see declines in finance and insurance, information, utilities, and mining.

The above information was included in the 2016 Regional Plan. Additional information about this region's Labor Market Information and the most up-to-date Regional Profile, is available from DEED.