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Minnesota Economy: Unveiling the Key Industries and Business Sectors of Minnesota

Minnesota’s economy is a diverse and dynamic force that plays a significant role in the overall health and well-being of its residents. The state’s economic growth has been closely tied to the exploitation of its primary natural resources, such as soils, iron ore, and timber.

These resources have helped to stimulate ancillary activities, including railroad building, natural resource processing, and agricultural implement manufacturing. Read on to learn more Minnesota economy facts.

Minnesota Economy

Overview of Minnesota Economy

In recent years, Minnesota’s economy has expanded to include various industries, with the manufacturing sector accounting for the largest share of the state’s economic output. Minnesota is home to numerous prominent companies, including Target and UnitedHealth Group, which have contributed to the growth and development of the state.

Gross Domestic Product

The economy of Minnesota is a significant contributor to the overall growth and development in the state. In 2014, Minnesota’s GDP stood at an impressive US$312 billion.

The manufacturing industry is known to be responsible for the largest share of Minnesota’s economic output, contributing significantly toward the GDP. Over the years, the state’s economy experienced challenges but managed to rebound, notably after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021.

Unemployment Rate

Unemployment is a critical aspect of any economy, and Minnesota has been resilient in sustaining job opportunities for its residents. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Minnesota experienced a loss of nearly 7% of its jobs, after nine years of steady annual increases in employment opportunities.

The BLS data recorded on May 25, 2023, for Minnesota provides valuable insights into the state’s unemployment rate, which is essential for understanding its current economic standing.

Labor Force

Minnesota’s labor market, industries, and economy are closely analyzed and monitored by Minnesota Economic Trends, a quarterly magazine that offers expert opinions and overviews. The annual state-of-the-state issue offers in-depth knowledge about Minnesota’s economy and its six major regions.

Minnesota Labor Force

The labor force in Minnesota consists of a diverse population working in various sectors like manufacturing, services, and agriculture.

Minnesota’s strong economy is backed by the existence of 31 publicly traded companies in the top 1,000 U.S. companies by revenue in 2011, which includes industry giants like Target and UnitedHealth Group.

Key Economic Sectors


Minnesota has a strong presence in the manufacturing industry, which contributes significantly to the state’s economic output. The sector has shown resilience and growth, particularly in areas such as advanced manufacturing. It is worth noting that the manufacturing industry accounts for the largest share of Minnesota’s economic output.

Some key areas of focus within the manufacturing sector include:

  • Medical devices
  • Machinery
  • Chemical products


The technology industry in Minnesota has also gained traction and is an important contributor to the state’s overall economy. The state is home to a diverse array of technology-focused businesses, spanning from software development and data analytics to cutting-edge industries like life sciences and clean tech.

Tech Industry

Minnesota’s technology sector benefits from a strong support ecosystem that encourages innovation and collaboration. Key subsectors within the technology sector include:

  • Software and computer services
  • Life sciences and biotechnology
  • Renewable energy and clean technology

Retail Trade

The retail trade sector is another vital component of Minnesota’s economy. Retail businesses in Minnesota thrive due to the state’s diverse economy and the presence of numerous Fortune 500 companies. This strong retail sector contributes to the overall stability and growth of Minnesota’s economy.

Income and Poverty

Median Household Income

Minnesota’s economy has experienced growth in recent years, with a median household income of $70,300 in 2018. However, income disparities exist among different racial and ethnic groups within the state.

The median household income for American Indian and Black households is considerably lower than for other groups. This shows that although the state’s overall financial situation is positive, there is room for improvement in addressing these inequalities.

Poverty Rate

In terms of poverty, Minnesota maintained a relatively low poverty rate of 10% in 2018. Around 529,000 Minnesotans, including 150,000 children under the age of 18, had family incomes below the official poverty threshold (approximately $25,100 for a family of four in 2018).

Comparatively, the state’s supplemental poverty rate in 2019 was 8.6 percent, which was significantly lower than the national average of 14.2 percent.

While Minnesota’s poverty rate of 9% is the lowest it has been since before the Great Recession, it is essential to continue addressing the issues that contribute to poverty and income disparities. This includes focusing on policies and initiatives that can help alleviate financial stress for those Minnesotans who are still struggling to make ends meet.

Regional Comparisons

Neighboring States

Minnesota’s economy can be analyzed in comparison with neighboring states like North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. It is important to consider factors like employment growth, industry performance, and demographic trends when comparing these regions.

Between 2010 and 2018, Minnesota experienced an employment growth of 11.4%, outpacing South Dakota (9.6%), Wisconsin (9.0%), and Iowa (7.1%), but trailing behind North Dakota, which had a whopping 15.5% growth during the same time period.


In terms of industry performance, Minnesota has a diverse economy that includes strong sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, and healthcare, which contribute significantly to the overall economic output.

The state’s lakes and land area also offer natural resources that help support industries like fishing, tourism, and forestry.


The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that Minnesota’s unemployment rate has consistently been lower than the national average, indicating a stable labor market and a healthy business climate. This stability can be attributed to the state’s diversified economy as well as its nurturing environment for innovation and startups.

In the context of the larger United States, Minnesota is located in the Midwest region, characterized by its vast land area, abundant lakes, and a significant agricultural sector. The state’s population and capital contribute to its economic performance, as higher population density often leads to increased economic activity.

Minnesota’s economy showcases a unique blend of economic stability and growth amidst a diverse range of industries. Comparing its performance to neighboring states and the nation as a whole reveals the state’s consistent performance and ability to adapt to the ever-changing economic landscape.

Major Economic Contributors

Mayo Clinic

The Mayo Clinic is a significant contributor to Minnesota’s economy, particularly in the healthcare sector. As a world-renowned medical institution, it draws patients, doctors, and researchers from various parts of the world, benefiting the state both financially and through its reputation for excellence in medical care.

Mayo Clinic

The Mayo Clinic’s presence in Minnesota has also played a crucial role in the state’s health innovation ecosystem by fostering collaboration between various healthcare organizations, research institutions, and industry stakeholders. This has indirectly supported the growth of the state’s medical device and biotechnology sectors.

Medical Devices Industry

Minnesota is home to a thriving medical devices industry. Several large companies, such as Medtronic and Boston Scientific, have established their headquarters in the state. The presence of these industry giants has created an environment conducive to the growth of smaller medical device companies and has attracted significant investment from both venture capitalists and public funding sources.

In addition to the significant economic impact generated by the manufacturing and sales of medical devices, the industry also contributes to Minnesota’s economy through job creation. A large number of high-skilled, well-paying jobs have been created in the state as a result of the medical device industry’s growth, directly benefiting the local workforce.

Furthermore, the strong presence of medical device companies in Minnesota has also led to a boost in research and development activities. This has fueled the growth of the state’s biotechnology sector, which has benefited from increased financial investment and collaborations between industry and academia.

Economic Challenges and Outlook

Recession Factors

Minnesota’s economy has faced some challenges in recent times, with its real GDP declining by 2.0% in the first quarter of 2022. This ranks the state 30th best among all states, a sign of cooling economic growth. High fuel costs also pose a threat to the state’s economy. These factors, among others, contribute to uncertainties in the economic outlook for Minnesota.

However, the state has also seen a budget surplus of nearly $9.3 billion, which offers a financial buffer during potential downturns. Moreover, economic experts predict a stable budget and economic outlook with a $17.5 billion balance projected for the next biennium.


Rising inflation is another concern for Minnesota’s economy. Higher inflation levels are expected, possibly resulting in lower income growth than previously forecasted for 2022. This situation can lead to a strain on households and businesses alike, as the cost of goods and services increases.


Despite these challenges, the long-term economic forecast for Minnesota remains promising. The state’s economy is expected to expand at a modest rate, with GDP averaging 2.2% annual growth through 2030.

In summary, Minnesota’s economy faces both challenges and potential growth opportunities. Addressing recession factors and inflation concerns will be crucial for ensuring the state’s ongoing economic stability and development.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the top industries in Minnesota?

Minnesota has a diverse economy with several key industries contributing to its robustness. Some of the top industries in the state include agriculture, manufacturing, healthcare, and clean energy.

The state is also known for its iron ore production, which accounts for over 90% of the value of all minerals produced in Minnesota. In recent years, the clean energy sector has seen significant growth, with over 61,800 clean energy jobs in the state.

What drives Minnesota’s economy?

The primary drivers of Minnesota’s economy are its diverse industries and its rich natural resources. The state’s agricultural, manufacturing, and healthcare sectors are major contributors to its GDP.

Capitalizing on natural resources, such as the iron ore found in the Mesabi Range, has also played a significant role in economic development. Additionally, the growth of the clean energy sector has become an important aspect of Minnesota’s economy.

What factors influence Minneapolis’ economy?

As the largest city in Minnesota, Minneapolis, holds a significant influence over the state’s overall economic performance.

Key factors that influence the city’s economy include its well-educated workforce, a thriving business environment, diverse industries like finance, healthcare, and manufacturing, and its focus on innovation and technology.

How has Minnesota’s economy evolved?

Over the years, Minnesota’s economy has evolved from being heavily reliant on agriculture and natural resources to a more diverse and innovative environment. The growth of various industries such as healthcare, technology, and clean energy has transformed the state’s economic landscape.

This diversification has made Minnesota’s economy more resilient to economic downturns and has allowed it to continue to grow and develop.

Is Minnesota’s economy strong or weak?

Minnesota’s economy can be considered strong due to its diverse industries, robust workforce, and focus on innovation. The state’s GDP ranks well within the United States, and its industries continue to create job opportunities. Additionally, the state’s clean energy sector showcases its potential for sustainable economic growth in the future.

Wrapping up Everything You Need to Know About Minnesota Economy

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a significant loss of jobs throughout the state, Minnesota has shown resilience in its economic recovery.

The state’s ability to adapt and grow over time can be attributed to its diverse economic portfolio and the hardworking nature of its residents. Next, check out this list of 14 Great Minnesota Jobs!