Twin Cities and MN

In my “About” column I told you I was going to include more Minnesota data than I had in the information I previously published. Well, for my Minnesota readers that is what I am doing here. This first table may not be of special interest to a lot of you because it is Twin Cities housing data.  I am not going to include Twin Cities data all of the time. However, because it is housing data and I consider that a good indicator of economic activity and since it is far enough in the construction season I think it tells us some things of significance. In this case, I think it tells us that the Twin Cities economy is doing OK. Not like North Dakota, or like some of the Minnesota counties with good agricultural returns but better than most of the United States.

This information comes from the Builders Assoc of the Twin Cities. They show a twelve month chart, a five year chart for August covering from 2009 through 2013, and also year to date figures for that same period. They also show what percent is for multifamily construction and of course the balance would be single family homes. Of course the totals are impressive because it is the Twin Cities, but the percentage changes are what counts and they are really impressive. They show us both the number of permits and the number of units those permits were for. While their tables don’t show the percentage difference it is basic math to calculate. Because of limit for the space I am only showing the five year comparison for the month of August and for year to date data as of August. The tables show those percentages for each year, but my point about the change from 2012 to 2013 is that as of August the number of permits for August 2013 was 28% more than August and the number of units for August this year was 24% more than last. For the Year to Date data from January through August this year was an increase in permits of 30% and increase in the number of units for the same time period was 24%. Those are large increases just for the month, but when we consider the Year to Date figure is 24% that is very impressive. The only other comment I want to add is that while I don’t have the room to show it, the percentage of total activity that was multifamily construction in August was 55% and for Year To Date it was 45%. That means the single family activity was 45% and 55% respectively for each of those categories.

A year ago I was invited to attend a seminar in the Twin Cities and present some North Dakota data especially on the Oil Patch. An attempt was being made to get Twin City companies, especially contractors to come to North Dakota and help “catch up” on the huge construction demand. When looking at this data I don’t know how many needed to go that far from home when they must have been fully employed right out their back door. Here are the Five Year Comparisons:

While North Dakota likes to brag about its increase in manufacturing, and it is significant have no doubt about that, our manufacturing  is small compared to our neighbor to the east. It always has been and I have no doubt always will be over any foreseeable number of generations. That doesn’t mean that things are always great for Minnesota and while I haven’t seen the data for total manufacturing, international sales manufacturing for the second quarter (April-June) of this year declined by 5.7% over the second quarter of last year. That was mainly because of large declines in sales to Canada and China, Minnesota’s two largest international markets. Declines also occurred in sales to Japan and South Korea. Below is the sales information on export sales as reported by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.


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