The Minnesota Index rose 0.2 percent for the fourth consecutive month in December boosted by another solid month of wage and salary employment, a jump in average weekly manufacturing hours, and the fourth straight month with a decline in the unemployment rate. December’s 3.5 seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is the lowest in over 14 years. The U.S. index advanced 0.3 percent.
The Minnesota Index, which is a proxy for economic growth in Minnesota, increased 2.8 percent on an annual average basis last year. This growth rate will likely be revised upwards when wage and employment numbers are revised upwards March. The index, which has increased between 3.1 and 3.3 percent during the previous five years, expanded 3.1 percent in 2014. The U.S. index increased 3.5 percent last year for the second year in a row. Annual average gains by Minnesota’s index exceeded U.S. gains between 2011 and 2013 but have lagged U.S. gains over the last two years. .