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Minnesota unemployment rate falls to 4.8%, lowest since December 2007

Star Tribune – Thursday, November 21, 2013

In a long-awaited glimpse into the Minnesota job market, a surprise spike in factory hiring and reliable growth in health care helped drive down the state’s unemployment rate to 4.8 percent, its lowest level since before the start of the Great Recession.

Employers in Minnesota added a modest 1,200 jobs over the past two months — shedding 8,700 jobs in September, then adding 9,900 positions in October, the Department of Employment and Economic Development reported Thursday.

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Closing the skills gap is a matter of partnership

Star Tribune – Sunday, November 10, 2013

One of us owns an innovative advanced metal forming company based in Fridley; the other is a U.S. senator. Both of us share a strong belief that the United States must address the “skills gap” that has left more than 3 million good-paying jobs unfilled. We also know from our experiences that we can close this gap in a way that will connect skilled workers with jobs, help make college more affordable and boost our competitiveness in a global economy.

By forging new and stronger partnerships between businesses and two-year community and technical colleges, we can train not only high school graduates looking for careers but also current workers who need to upgrade their skills as technology advances and industries evolve.

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GVL Poly of Litchfield uses 3-D printing to drive ag equipment sales

Star Tribune – Sunday, October 6, 2013

Most people haven’t heard of GVL Poly or its specialty farm equipment.

But the tiny Litchfield, Minn., company is quickly making a name for itself, growing its staff, expanding its factory and attracting a whole new crop of customers with recently purchased technology that allows it to turn out customized parts in record time.

“We have come a long way and come up quickly,” said CEO Allan Cronen, a former banker who bought the business in 2002 when it had just four employees.

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Manufacturers must retain and retrain employees

Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal – Friday, October 11, 2013

In Enterprise Minnesota’s annual survey of manufacturing companies, 31 percent of executives who responded said their ability to attract and retain qualified workers was a major concern.

“Five years ago, workforce hardly showed up,” said Bob Kill, president and CEO of the organization.

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Litchfield-based Anderson-Crane hopes to double its sales

Star Tribune – Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Family-owned Anderson-Crane Co. is on a roll.

The tiny manufacturer of grain conveyor systems is hiring, buying faster equipment and making plans to double the size of its factory in Litchfield, Minn.

“There are 20 different jobs going on. We are swamped. It’s crazy,” said Rob Crane, company spokesman and great-grandson of the founder. He said sales should double in five years.

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If worker shortage comes, rural Minnesota will feel it first

MPR – Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The number of high-paying manufacturing jobs is growing faster in rural Minnesota than in the Twin Cities. But if the much-talked-about potential for a national shortage of skilled workers materializes, rural Minnesota will feel it first, both because of competition from the Twin Cities, Sioux Falls, Fargo and the North Dakota oil fields and because its residents are older and retiring sooner.

That’s the gist of the latest snapshot analysis of rural Minnesota done by the Center for Rural Policy and Development in St. Peter. The center pulled together recent manufacturing job data from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis. The resulting information graphic is one in a series of examinations the center is making of  a variety of issues in rural Minnesota.

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Faribault Business Leaders Learn About State of Manufacturing

Faribault Daily News – Friday, June 21, 2013

A summary of the State of Manufacturing data was presented Friday morning at the Faribault Area Chamber of Commerce, where a handful of manufacturers and other business leaders came together to talk about their thoughts on the industry.

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