Economic Competitiveness

Photo: Photo Courtesy of Clay Squared

The global economy is experiencing fundamental changes, including technological advances, manufacturing sector shifts, changes in the distribution and sale of goods, the movement toward a knowledge-based economy, and evolving resource limitations. This ever-changing economy creates opportunities and challenges that impact the residents and businesses of Minneapolis and the surrounding region.

Minneapolis is operating from a rich base of local assets that generate business and expand industries. Minneapolis and the surrounding region are home to 17 Fortune 500 companies and seven of the top 225 private companies. Minneapolis’ regional creative economy continues to be ranked in the top six in the Creative Vitality Index, with a score nearly four times higher than the national average. The University of Minnesota, ranked fourth in the nation for patent creation and the ninth-best U.S. public research institution, continues to lead in the development and creation of new technology, ideas and business. The state of Minnesota ranks first in the nation in the number of jobs per capita related to medical technology. And Forbes has called Minnesota the fastest-growing state for tech jobs.

Despite this vibrancy throughout the city and region, not everyone is benefiting, accessing or participating in this growth. Minneapolis is among the areas of the nation with the largest disparities between people of color and indigenous peoples and white people in level of education, employment and poverty rates. In Minneapolis, 83 percent of white non-Hispanics have more than a high school education, compared with 47 percent of black people and 45 percent of American Indians. Only 32 percent of Hispanics have more than a high school education.


Educational disparities become barriers to finding employment opportunities in the changing economy and are evident in unemployment and poverty rates. In Minneapolis, the unemployment rate for blacks and American Indians is approximately three times higher than it is for white non-Hispanics. The unemployment rate is 17 percent for blacks and 14 percent for American Indians, compared with fewer than 5 percent for white non-Hispanics. The poverty rate in Minneapolis for blacks is nearly 45 percent, 33 percent for American Indians, nearly 27 percent for Hispanics and approximately 12 percent for white non-Hispanics. The changing economy, particularly the loss of production and processing jobs, has meant a decrease in jobs available to those with a high school education or below that pay a living wage.



The economy in Minneapolis needs to continue to grow and innovate, and people of color and indigenous people must have physical, personal and institutional access to this growth. This means developing and supporting an economic climate that helps sustain and nourish businesses. It means addressing the growing racial disparities in Minneapolis’ economy by identifying barriers that have reduced access to economic opportunities and by developing strategies and programs that ensure people of color can participate, compete in and succeed in the economy – ultimately ensuring that the growth of Minneapolis benefits everyone.


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