Buildings Demography Environment GIS Information Policy Technology Transportation More subjects
Note: The Office of Geographic and Demographic Analysis is no longer a division of the Dept. of Administration. The work units which made up this division can be found on the left menu of this page. Resources found on the GDA website are being migrated to other domains. Logo

Indicator 3 9 : Employment of working-age population

Goal: Minnesota will have sustainable, strong economic growth. Economic growth creates jobs and may increase opportunities for better jobs and improved living standards. Strong and sustainable economic growth can be accomplished through the complementary long-term objectives of economic prosperity and environmental protection. Minnesota has traditionally been recognized as a state with a high quality of life driven by a strong economy. Sustainable, strong economic growth puts Minnesota in a better position to achieve other Minnesota Milestones goals.

Rationale: High labor participation rates, as measured by the proportion of the working age population that is in the workforce, contribute to strong and sustainable economic growth.

About this indicator: A high percentage of Minnesotans age 16 to 64 are in the workforce. In the past decade, the rate varied from a low of 81.2 percent in 1992 to a high of 86.2 percent in 1998. The employment to population ratio was above 84 percent between 1994 and 1999. The drop in 2000 is partially due to higher-than-anticipated Census population figures; the rate is calculated by dividing total employment by Minnesota's 16 to 64 population.

This indicator can be viewed from two perspectives. On the one hand, a high workforce participation rate suggests a strong and growing economy where jobs are available for those who want them. On the other hand, a high rate may not always be desirable. It could indicate that more people are working multiple jobs and that an increasing share of households need two incomes to make ends meet.

For comparison: In 2000, the national employment to population rate was 74.2 percent, nearly 10 percent less than Minnesota. Minnesota ranked second in the nation at 83 percent, just below South Dakota. Wabasha County had the highest rate in Minnesota at 93.2 percent in 2000, while Todd County had the lowest at 60.0 percent.

Things to think about: If a greater percentage of Minnesotans work past the age of 65, this indicator could be biased upward, because it is computed by dividing the number of people working (regardless of age) by the number of people between the ages of 16 and 64.

Technical notes: This indicator uses the annual average of adjusted Local Area Unemployment Statistics, which are not seasonally adjusted. Annual population estimates are from July 1 of each year, other than the census years. Data includes people who work in Minnesota, whether or not they live in Minnesota.


  • Minnesota Department of Economic Security, Local Area Unemployment Statistics:
  • Population figures: U.S. Census Bureau:

Related data trends:

  • Employed Minnesotans age 16 and over
    • Population, ages 16-64
    • Related indicators:

      Other related indicators:

      • Annual average unemployment rate (Minnesota Department of Economic Security,
      • Minnesota's share of the nation's employment (Minnesota Department of Economic Security,

      Retrieve county data for: Percentage of Minnesotans age 16 to 64 who are employed

Technical problems? Contact: