In these tough economic times, the entire City of Minneapolis government is working together with our partners to remain focused on sustaining our areas of market strength – such as health care, education and the arts - while helping businesses and residents hard-hit in this economy. Late last year we launched the Working Capital Loan Guarantee Program to help Minneapolis small businesses secure financing. We expanded our Dislocated Worker Program to focus on higher education opportunities for talented workers facing layoffs. Meanwhile, the City’s diverse economy has helped us to remain relatively strong. Some hopeful new stats include:
The downtown office vacancy rate declined in the 4th quarter of 2008, to 12.5%, which was lower than the metro-wide rate for the 3rd straight quarter.
The total projected construction volume of 2008 development permits in Minneapolis [$769.5 million] ran slightly ahead of 2007 [$755.1 million].
The City’s 4th quarter unemployment rate of 5.7% was the same as the metro rate; although unemployment rates increased nationwide in January, the city’s rate of 6.9% was lower than the metro area, the state and the national unemployment rates.
The number of foreclosures declined for the third straight quarter.
These are a few bright spots that will take all of our best efforts to sustain in 2009. Those best efforts are now focused on seizing opportunities in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act approved by Congress and President Obama, preparing the green workforce of the future by starting with home rehab efforts, and recruiting capital from the nonprofit and private sectors for shovel-ready construction projects. We know the private sector is hungry for construction, and the City is exploring capital sources for projects with gaps. Click here to review more 4th quarter 2008 economic trends.