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MINNEAPOLIS-According to a study released by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Labor Market Information Office, Minnesota jobseekers are competing for fewer employment opportunities than last year. Spelled out in the latest Minnesota Job Vacancy survey, job openings in the state are down by 10% from one year ago to 58,839 or five job vacancies for every 10 unemployed people.

Despite a general decline in openings, a number of industrial sectors in the state are showing strong hiring demand. Healthcare had another strong performance with healthcare support vacancies up 38%. Vacancies in management occupations were up 66% over last year. Architecture and engineering openings also grew with nearly twice as many job vacancies during second quarter 2005 compared to last year.

“The survey results are consistent with the employment trends we have seen over the past few months,” says DEED commissioner Matt Kramer. The biannual survey began in the fourth quarter of 2000. More than 10,000 employers across Minnesota were surveyed during the second quarter of 2005; the next Minnesota Job Vacancy Survey will be conducted during the fourth quarter 2005.

With hope of reinvigorating Minnesota with a healthy job outlook, the DEED office said it projects significant economic growth in Northeast Minnesota over the next few years. According to the department, more than a dozen major business expansions are currently in the works, which could result in up to 2,300 permanent new jobs, more than 4,000 construction jobs and more than $4 billion in new capital investment.

Through education and job training, the state hopes to jumpstart the employment market. Today, for example, the department is making two presentations–one in Duluth and one in Hibbing–offering a comprehensive view of potential business and employment activity in the Northeast Minnesota Arrowhead region, focusing on the dramatic changes brought about by rapid economic and demographic transition. Each presentation will highlight current data and reliable projections on the region’s shifting economic, demographic and labor market picture.

In another example, the state through its Minnesota Job Skills Partnership recently granted welders working for Stanley LaBounty, global manufacturer of large hydraulic attachments, on-site welding training, with a boost from a public-private training package that will fund training for 35 existing and new employees.

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