City Coordinator's Office

350 S. 5th St, Room 301M
Minneapolis, MN 55415

Jobs and Skills

This page is a pilot of a new, interactive way to explore and report Minneapolis data. Expand each section of the report by clicking headings (marked with a “+” symbol). Hover your cursor over data points in Section 3 to explore the data and draw your own insights. Use the scroll bars to see all the data and use the check boxes to change the data that you see.

Section 1: Introduction

What is this?

    City Goal Results Minneapolis roundtables are focused on answering the question "Are we there yet?" by reporting progress on our community indicators. These reports are analytical in nature and focused on making connections with cross-sector data. Creating these reports requires input from multiple departments and, in many cases, external participants. The goal of this initiative is to reflect the realities being experienced in our communities. The objectives of the report and roundtable are to 1) have a new and different understanding of the indicator and 2) think differently about solutions.

    This Jobs and Skills report is the second in a two-part series on economic security. It is centered around two indicators: educational attainment and employment in the 20 broad NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) sectors. The first part of the series focused on the long-term trends of the poverty rate, unemployment rate, and average monthly earnings indicators rather than short-term fluctuations. These macro trends are heavily influenced by government policies and tend to be outside the scope of a single investment or intervention. This Jobs and Skills report focuses more on the path individuals take into the job market, employment sector trends, and the disparities in employment due to bias and discrimination in the labor market.

    This report was created with participation from the Minneapolis Community Planning and Economic Development Department.

Why educational attainment?

    Educational attainment measures the level of education completed by a person living in a particular area. It is a long-term indicator of the investment made in developing the knowledge, talents, skills, training, and experience possessed by an individual, and it provides an assessment of the overall quality of life, workforce preparedness, and economic potential of the city. The City of Minneapolis has an interest in the educational attainment of its residents because it is positively associated with important outcomes in employment, poverty, and average monthly earnings, which are major factors in determining whether or not an individual or family has economic security. Structural factors such as institutional racism, which have resulted in racial economic disparities and racial disparities in access to educational resources, play a consequential role in contributing to the racial disparities that exist in educational attainment outcomes in Minneapolis.

Why employment?

    Employment in this context reflects the number of individuals employed in the 20 broadest employment sectors in Minneapolis. The NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) sectors were selected because they are a foundational coding system used in many other systems, which means we can collect, compare, and analyze data across multiple dimensions. It is important to know how many people are employed in the city and in which employment sectors in order to understand how the City of Minneapolis can better support both the development of businesses and the residents that make up the workforce in ways that improve the business climate and reduce racial and gender disparities in the labor market.

Section 2: Framework

View framework

    City Goal Results - Jobs and Skills report framework

Section 3: Report

There are large disparities in educational attainment that leave African-American, Latino and American Indian residents without the same economic opportunities as white and some Asian residents.

    Students of color are overrepresented in state colleges and private career schools and underrepresented in four-year public or private institutions that are associated with better employment outcomes and higher wages (Minnesota Office of Higher Education).

    Students of color, students with limited English proficiency, and students from low-income families are more likely to be enrolled in developmental (remedial) education courses, which means they must spend additional time and money to catch up to their peers (Minnesota Office of Higher Education).

    How to read this data visualization: The visual below contains five-year Minneapolis educational attainment estimates by race. The estimates are color coded to reflect whether they are statistically significant, or substantially different from Minneapolis citywide levels of educational attainment. If the visual does not load on your device, please click here to open it in a new window.

More education generally leads to better job opportunities, but the sectors students go into and broader economic factors also influence how well a given degree translates to a well-paying job.

    Higher levels of educational attainment typically improve employment and earning outcomes, but there are exceptions. For instance, more individuals with legal certificates were employed full-time shortly after graduation than those with a higher degree, like an associate's or a bachelor's, in a similar field and their wages were similar. In contrast, there was little difference in employment outcomes between students with a bachelor's and a graduate degree in education.

    The wage premium of a graduate degree varies across fields of study. Graduate degrees in fields such as engineering, computer science, and business management have a high return on investment compared to a bachelors degree in the same fields of study.

    Soft skills like collaboration and negotiation are increasingly critical for doing a job well and advancing in a career, but educational programs typically underemphasized soft skills compared to hard skills (USAID).

    How to read these data visualizations: These visuals contain data from the Minnesota Statewide Longitudinal Education Data System (SLEDS). The thickness of the lines reflects the number of students graduating from that degree program. Because larger samples are more reliable, thicker lines provide a stronger measure of the relationship between the degree achieved and employment and earnings outcomes. If the visual does not load on your device, please click here to open it in a new window.

People of color are disproportionately represented in certain employment sectors in Minneapolis.

    The healthcare sector employs the largest number of people in Minneapolis, and disproportionately more black or African American workers. When groups of workers are concentrated in a sector, they become vulnerable to major economic shifts within that sector, particularly if they primarily work in low-paying occupations.

    These disparities exist in other sectors as well and point to people of color disproportionately working in sectors that likely have lower median wages. People of color are roughly twice as likely to be employed in the Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services sector. White people were approximately twice as likely as people of color to be employed in Minneapolis jobs in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services sector, the Finance and Insurance sector, and the Management of Companies and Enterprises sector.

    How to read these data visualizations: The below visuals display total Minneapolis employment by race for each of the 20 broad employment sectors categorized by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). Because of the regional nature of the city’s labor market and commuting patterns, the data is only able to reflect individuals employed in Minneapolis, not the employment status of all Minneapolis residents. If the visual does not load on your device, please click here to open it in a new window.

Occupations with low starting wages might have fewer barriers to entry, but could limit workers' economic opportunities if there is not also room for upward mobility.

    Analyzing the types of jobs individuals have within sectors yields a richer picture of employment opportunities in Minneapolis than just looking at sectors as a whole. While an employee’s sector represents the kind of work the individual’s employer or business does, an employee’s occupational category represents the kind of work that individual does within their organization.

    Some occupational categories have a variety of jobs that span the entire earning spectrum while jobs in other categories are clustered at the low end. For example, some occupations in Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations and Management Occupations have high median wages. In other categories, such as Personal Care and Service Occupations and Food Preparation Occupations, most jobs are clustered at the low end of the earning spectrum.

    Starting wages can indicate how difficult it is to enter a given occupation. Individuals that need to get a job immediately might end up taking a lower paying job that doesn’t require as much education or training.

    The distribution of wages between the lowest and highest earners in an occupation reflects the level of opportunity an individual has to stay in that job and increase their earnings over time. Some large occupations like Waiters, Personal Care Aides, and Cashiers have a very low distribution of wages. Many of the jobs with the widest distribution of wages also have high starting wages and employ fewer people, meaning they are more difficult jobs to get.

    How to read these data visualizations: Occupations and occupational categories can be compared along many dimensions, such as the total number of workers employed, median earnings per hour or year, and the distribution between the lowest and highest paid workers. This information can help evaluate the employment and earning opportunities available to individuals in each occupation and help identify occupations with the best opportunities for workers. If the visual does not load on your device, please click here to open it in a new window.

Individuals don't just need help finding work, they need help finding work that allows them to support themselves and their families.

    The number of people working part-time compared to full-time is higher in Minnesota than in most other states. Minnesota’s U6:U3 ratio compares the number of underemployed individuals with the standard unemployment rate and illustrates that the state’s low overall unemployment masks high underemployment.

    Minnesota has a higher percentage of people with multiple jobs than the Midwest region or the United States as a whole. Having a high percentage of people with multiple jobs could mean that there is a shortage of full-time opportunities or that available full-time jobs don’t pay enough for workers to make ends meet..

    How to read these data visualizations:
    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, multiple jobholders are wage or salary workers who hold two or more jobs, are self-employed or are also unpaid family workers.

    The U3 measure of unemployment includes people who: (a) are not working for pay, (b) had actively looked for work during the last four weeks or were waiting to be called back from a temporary layoff, and (c) could have started a job if they had received an offer.

    The U6 measure of unemployment is an alternative measure of labor underutilization which includes: (a) unemployed people from U-3, (b) people who are "marginally attached" to the labor force, that is those who are neither working nor looking for work but want and are available for a job and have looked for work sometime in the past 12 months, and (c) people who work part time for economic reasons, who would have preferred full-time employment but were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they could not find a full-time job.

    If the visual does not load on your device, please click here to open it in a new window.

City workforce development programs are one strategy for connecting people to jobs, but there are clear racial and gender differences in who participates in those programs and their outcomes.

    The Dislocated Worker program serves a very different group of people than Minneapolis Works, Train to Career, and WIOA Adult. People of color make up the majority of individuals participating in the City’s Minneapolis Works, Train to Career and WIOA Adult programs. Participants in these programs also typically have lower educational attainment. In contrast, participants in the Dislocated Worker program are more likely to be white and have a higher level of education.

    Most of the participants in the City’s four workforce development programs leave because they got jobs. However some of the jobs they enter have a low distribution of earnings which means workers could hit a pay ceiling. For example, transportation and construction jobs typically have lower starting wages and less room for wage growth.

    Most of the City’s workforce development programs help individuals gain new skills and jobs by providing short-term training for entry-level employment. Getting workers immediately attached to the labor force is an important part of boosting employment. Occupations with lower starting wages but large opportunities for wage growth could be valuable targets for the City’s programming.

    How to read these data visualizations:
    The first group of visualizations shows the demographic characteristics of 2015 participants in Minneapolis Employment and Training Programs (METP). The visuals show participants by race and sex, by level of educational attainment, and by zip code. If the visual does not load on your device, please click here to open it in a new window.

    The second group of visualizations shows the employment sector and earnings outcomes for 2015 METP program graduates.
    • The first graph shows employment outcomes of METP participants by race
    • The second set of visuals shows participants average change in wages before and after participating in an METP program. This data is broken out by sex and race. If the visual does not load on your device, please click here to open it in a new window.

    The third chart shows the sectors that METP participants were employed in, by sex, and the following visual shows all metro area employment; the stars represent sectors that METP participants were placed in. It is important to note that much of the data around which sectors METP participants enter is not coded, making it difficult to get the full picture of what sectors participants are going into and how effective City programs are. If the visual does not load on your device, please click here to open it in a new window.



Pay inequity persists across Minneapolis employment sectors for women and people of color regardless of their relative concentration in a given sector.

    Increasing labor force participation does not result in equitable employment outcomes. One common strategy to reduce or eliminate employment disparities has been to simply increase the number of employees from disadvantaged groups, such as women and people of color, in an employment sector. However, this strategy does not appear to reduce disparities in pay within individual employment sectors.

    These pay inequities could be the result of women and people of color being paid less than their coworkers in similar positions, occupying lower-paying positions within a sector, being passed over for promotions, or some combination of these factors.

    How to read these data visualizations:
    These visualizations show the concentration of women or people of color and the relative wages they earn compared to a reference group.

    The first visualization shows the percent of people of color in an industry, and compares the relative wages people of color earn compared to white people. This does not control for factors like time in position, or level within an organization. If the visual does not load on your device, please click here to open it in a new window.

    The second visualization shows the percent of women in an industry, and compares the relative wages women earn compared to men. This also does not control for factors like time in position, or level within an organization.

Even if the education system functioned completely equitably, or if city programs successfully connected every unemployed worker with a job, discrimination in employment would still prevent people of color and women from achieving equal employment outcomes compared to their white and male peers.

    Bias and discrimination in hiring, retention, and promotion reduce opportunities available to people of color and can undermine efforts to address employment and wage disparities. Data from the Minneapolis Department of Civil Rights shows that racial discrimination is the single most common reason Minneapolis residents file a discrimination complaint. Additionally, residents overwhelmingly file complaints in relation to discrimination in employment over other areas such as real estate, public accommodations and public service.

    Network hiring is one example of a practice that can reinforce existing racial and ethnic inequalities in the work place. The most common way people are hired is through social networks. Nationally, 36% of hires come from internal sources and 22% of all hires come from an employee referral. White individuals are more likely to identify employment opportunities through referrals from relatives and friends, avenues that are more likely to lead to higher-paying positions. (National Institute of Health)

    Helping individuals enter or re-enter the job market is important. But this approach runs the risk of becoming transactional in nature, focusing on passing individuals along an assembly line rather than addressing the underlying reasons for disparate outcomes in educational attainment and employment that create the need for the City’s workforce development programming.

    How to read this data visualization: The first visualization shows unemployment rates by race for varying levels of educational attainment. In the line graphs, the top graph represents the number of complaints filed with the Civil Rights Complaint Investigation Division by year. Each line represents a different basis for filing a complaint. The second line graph represents the breakdown of case resolution by year. Each line represents a different type of resolution outcome. Probable Cause means that discrimination was found to have occurred.

    Notes about the data: According to the Department of Civil Rights, the Case Basis data should be interpreted with caution for the following reasons.
    • The data represents the basis of discrimination filed by each individual along with their initial complaint to the Civil Rights Complaint Investigation Division. Because this data is self-reported by each individual who files a complaint, there is some subjectivity.
    • Because most discrimination is not reported to the City, the data likely underrepresents the true amount of discrimination.
    • The Civil Rights Department has an annual contract with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), where the EEOC transfers a predetermined number of employment complaints to the Complaint Investigation Division. The amount of outreach and awareness about filing discrimination complaints also varies by type of discrimination, so many of the other bases for discrimination are also underreported.

    Notes about the breakdown of case resolution data:
    • Sometimes a Probable Cause resolution does not lead to conciliation, although this outcome is rare.
    • In practice discrimination may have occurred in cases where no probable cause is found. In these cases the person who filed the complaint may not have been able to meet the high legal standard of proof.

    If the visual does not load on your device, please click here to open it in a new window.

Discussion Questions


    Equipping people with the right skills for well-paying jobs is especially difficult because Minneapolis has a broad mix of industries and deep disparities in education and employment.

    What strategies could the City employ to match more people of color and more women with well-paying jobs and to help them advance in those jobs?

    The period of labor shortage we are currently facing creates an opportunity for the City to connect with businesses that want to find and retain diverse talent. How can the City capitalize on this opportunity to engage with businesses to grow an inclusive workforce?

    At this time, the City has more mechanisms available to influence individuals entering the workforce than it does to support businesses trying to hire, retain and promote a diverse workforce. What would it take to reduce the systemic disparities that influence the skills people obtain and the jobs people get? How high a priority is this, considering the many other requests the City asks of Minneapolis businesses?


Last updated Sep 21, 2016



Contact us

Email updates

Find a service

About this site

For employees

For reasonable accommodations or alternative formats, contact 311.
People who are deaf or hard of hearing can use a relay service to call 311 at 612-673-3000.
TTY users can call 612-673-2157 or 612-673-2626.

Para asistencia 612-673-2700, Yog xav tau kev pab, hu 612-637-2800, Hadii aad Caawimaad u baahantahay 612-673-3500. 


311 call center

311 TTY relay service

City of Minneapolis Facebook City of Minneapolis Twitter City of Minneapolis YouTube ChaNNEL Minneapolis 311 Minneapolis 14 Government TV City of Minneapolis LinkedIn

Minneapolis, City of Lakes logo