Employment opportunities projected in mining

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017 - Jobs

Mining accounts for around 2.5 percent of total employment in Northeastern Minnesota, and nearly 5 percent of the total payroll, according to statistics from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

DEED’s Employment Outlook tool shows future demand for mining employment over the next decade with the mining industry expected to gain jobs slightly faster than the total of all industries, said Cameron Macht, DEED regional analysis and outreach manager. That is despite a relatively small number of new jobs created.

All of the mining jobs posted offered health care benefits. That compares to only 41 percent of the jobs posted across all other industries.

The median wage in mining was just less than $19 per hour, compared to just under $12.50 across all other vacancies, said Macht.

Much like the economy overall, the mining industry has experienced employment fluctuations over the past decade and a half, noted Macht. The mining industry had as many as 5,634 jobs in 2000, then lost jobs during the recession in 2001 until a brief resurgence in 2008 before the Great Recession in 2009.

Payrolls have been built up again over the first half of this decade. However, employment dropped in the past year.


The region had almost the exact same number of mining jobs in 2016 as it had in 2006, despite significant annual changes over the course of the decade, added Macht.

In the fourth quarter of 2016, there were 38 job vacancies, all full time positions, posted by mining firms. Eighty-seven percent of those vacancies in mining required a postsecondary education, said Macht.

Of those, 50 percent required vocational training and 38 percent required an associate’s degree, while 13 percent required a high school diploma or less.

In comparison, only 33 percent of all other vacancies posted in that same period required a postsecondary education.

The largest volume of jobs in mining includes truck drivers, industrial machinery mechanics, construction laborers, construction equipment operators,and mobile heavy equipment mechanics. They will also have a relatively large number of replacement openings as existing workers retire or change careers.

Citing DEED’s Quarterly Census of Employment & Wages program, Macht said there were 28 mining establishments in Northeast Minnesota, providing more than 3,600 jobs and just more than $290 million in total annual payroll in 2016.

Average annual wages in 2016 were $80,607 for the 3,608 jobs in the mining industry, which was nearly double the average wage across the total of all industries in the region.

In comparison, the average annual wage in all industries from Northeast Minnesota for 141,683 jobs was $41,755.

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