Area economy and job outlook looking good

Downtown Rochester

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ROCHESTER, Minn. — Rochester is known for their world renowned medical care and clinic and demand for that kind of service will never go away.

So it is no surprise that the city is growing, but that is not the only industry seeing a boom in the med city.

2012 turned out to be a great year for Rochester’s economy.

“Across all sectors, construction, real estate, manufacturing, obviously the health care sector, but it’s broad-based growth, which is really the best kind of growth to see,” said Gary Smith, president of Rochester Area Economic Development Inc.

Their real gross domestic product, or the economic output adjusted for price changes, went up by 3.6 percent last year according to numbers released this week by the U.S Bureau of Economic Analysis.

That compares to a 2.9 percent drop the year before.

“Three percent, a number around three, three and a half percent is good growth and I’d say that’s fairly typical, we’ve had years of course that have been higher and then we’ve had years where it’s negative,” Smith said.

That puts Rochester in the top 20 percent of the nation’s nearly 400 metropolitan areas.

Smith said he expects to continue to see that kind of growth.

“I would expect that we would continue to do that over the next several years. Obviously with everything that we see on the horizon, DMC and other developments that are in the works as well, we see a bright future ahead for the Rochester area,” Smith said.

This economic growth is also a good sign for area jobs.

According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), 12,200 new jobs were gained in August statewide.

“I think companies are starting to, you know, they feel like they’ve weathered the storm, they’re ready to increase inventories and get back to production,” said Curt Olson, President of Aspire Employment Solutions.

The numbers show that the storm may in fact be over. DEED said that Minnesota has made up for the more than 150,000 jobs that were lost in the great recession.

“Definitely in this area, we’re seeing an uptick on the hiring, so it’s always good to see that and we’re also seeing a pleasant increase in the candidates,” Olson said.

Minnesota’s lowest jobless rate since April of 2008 has Olson thinking that we may be nearing the end.

“I’d like to say that the light’s at the end of the tunnel, but I’ve been saying that for a while, but there’s definitely been an improvement and a consistent improvement,” Olson said.

Meanwhile, the Twin Cities had some of the best economic growth in the nation. Only Houston, Dallas-Fort Worth, San Francisco and Seattle grew faster.

Statewide, Iowa also saw a nearly 2.5 percent increase in the value of their goods and services. That compares to Minnesota’s 3.5 percent increase.

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