New Report Examines “MN’s Vanishing Workforce” and What to Do About It

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – A report released today on Minnesota’s workforce crisis provides a data-driven examination of the trends and forces driving workforce shortages in the state and identifies strategies to mitigate the problem. Economists from leading labor market analytics firm Lightcast (formerly Emsi Burning Glass) authored Minnesota’s Vanishing Workforce in partnership with the Minnesota Business Partnership (MBP), Presbyterian Homes & Services, and SullivanCotter. The report examines the demographic changes and other factors causing Minnesota’s “demographic drought” and offers strategies for policymakers, employers, and educators to alleviate the people shortage.

Among the report’s key findings:

  • Employment in Minnesota is not recovering as fast as total US employment post-COVID. Minnesota still needs 168,000 more people in the labor force to fully recover to where the workforce would have been in the absence of the pandemic.
  • The state’s fertility rate dropped from 1.95 in 2011 to 1.75 in 2021. This is equivalent to a loss of about 285,000 individuals, or 5% of the state’s population.
  • Relative to other states, Minnesota is struggling to attract and retain workers. According to Lightcast’s 2022 Talent Attraction Scorecard, Minnesota ranks 46th in attracting and retaining talent.
  • Minnesota’s population will continue aging more rapidly than the nation as a whole. Between 2020 and 2030, Minnesota’s population will age more rapidly than during any other period.
  • Strategies to mitigate worker shortages include: Boosting the state’s labor force participation rate, especially among groups that have historically had weaker attachment to the labor market; Increasing domestic and international migration; Reskilling and upskilling workers; Adopting public policies that encourage work-based learning; Improving alignment between job requirements and available talent.

Jeff Harmening, Chair of the MBP and Chairman and CEO of General Mills, said: Demographic changes and other factors will profoundly alter the composition of Minnesota’s workforce in the years ahead. This will require Minnesota to think differently about how to attract and retain workers, optimize the state’s workforce, and set our state on the right path for the future.” Harmening continued: “Effectively confronting Minnesota’s workforce challenges will require the active engagement of policymakers, business leaders, and educators. Working together, we can ensure a bright economic future for Minnesota.”

Report authors Dr. Rachel Sederberg and Elizabeth Crofoot will host a free webinar on Thursday, September 21 at 12:00 PM (CDT) to discuss the report’s findings and answer questions. Click to register.



Lightcast: Lightcast provides trusted global labor market data, analytics, and expert guidance that empowers communities, corporations, and learning providers to make informed decisions and navigate the increasingly complex world of work. With a database of more than one billion job postings and career profiles, our team provides best-in-class customer service with robust data, clear analysis, and expert guidance on skills, jobs, and opportunities. Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, and Moscow, Idaho, Lightcast is active in more than 30 countries and has offices in the United Kingdom, Italy, New Zealand, Canada, and India. The company is backed by global private equity leader KKR. For more, visit

Minnesota Business PartnershipThe Minnesota Business Partnership (MBP) is a nonpartisan public policy organization comprised of more than 100 CEOs and top executives from Minnesota’s largest employers, which collectively employ over 500,000 Minnesotans. MBP members represent a broad range of business interests, political perspectives, and personal philosophies, but they are united by the Partnership’s mission: Maintain a high quality of life for all Minnesotans by ensuring that the state’s economy remains strong and globally competitive.

Presbyterian Homes & Services: Presbyterian Homes & Services (PHS), based in St. Paul, Minnesota, is a non-profit, faith-based organization providing a broad array of high-quality housing choices, and care and service options for older adults. Over 7,500 employees serve more than 24,000 older adults through 60 PHS-affiliated senior living communities in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin, and through Optage® home and community services. PHS is also co-owner of Genevive, the largest geriatric primary care practice in Minnesota, providing comprehensive care for over 15,000 older adults. Established in 1955, PHS has earned the reputation as an innovative leader dedicated to promoting independence, purposeful living, and overall well-being for those they serve. Today, PHS is one of the largest nonprofit providers of senior housing and services in the nation.

SullivanCotter: SullivanCotter partners with health care and other not-for-profit organizations to understand what drives performance and improve outcomes through the development and implementation of integrated workforce strategies. Using our time tested methodologies and industry-leading research and information, we provide data-driven insights, expertise, and solutions to help organizations align business strategy and performance objectives – enabling our clients to deliver on their mission, vision, and values.