The Free Press, Mankato, MN

February 14, 2013

GMG cites list of area's economic successes


The Free Press

MANKATO — Greater Mankato Growth took a look back at 2012 and found quite a bit to crow about.

“The individual strengths of the cities and counties here combine to create a powerful portfolio of combined assets,” said GMG president and CEO Jonathan Zierdt in a news release.

Each February GMG compiles benchmarks and economic data from the previous year for Blue Earth and Nicollet counties.

Here area some of the key successes of the Mankato region pointed to in the report:

* In June, Forbes ranked the area 11th in the nation of all places in the country with populations less than 250,000, up from 25th place in 2011.

 Forbes based the ranking on a variety of areas, including job growth, costs (business and living), income growth, educational attainment, projected economic growth and quality of life.

* In May, NewGeography.com ranked the MSA number 80 among all 398 Metropolitan Statistical Areas in the U.S. for creation of short- and long-term jobs. The Mankato-North Mankato MSA also was ranked top in Minnesota.

* There were 141 new building and renovation projects totaling more than $223 million.          

* The average number of establishments in the area at the end of the second quarter of 2012 was at 2,719, compared to 2,675 at the end of 2011, a 1.6 percent increase in six months.

* Total payroll for the second quarter of 2012 was $461 million, compared to $434 million for the same period of 2011, a 6.2 percent increase. The average weekly wage was $697, compared to $679 in the same period of 2011.

* Between 2011 and 2012 the average number of jobs for all non-farm businesses in the Mankato-North Mankato MSA grew by 2.3 percent (or 1,220 jobs).

This was the largest gain of any of the six MSAs in the state. It was also well above Minnesota overall, which grew by 1.3 percent.