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Twin Cities has higher employment in living-wage jobs compared to other metros

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Twin Cities has higher employment in living-wage jobs compared to other metros

Nov 27, 2023 | 4:37 pm ET
By Madison McVan
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Twin Cities has higher employment in living-wage jobs compared to other metros
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Unemployment rates in the Twin Cities continue to stay below national averages. Photo by Getty Images.

Twenty percent of workers in the Twin Cities metro are seeking, but unable to find, a living wage, according to an economic research group. That’s slightly better than the national average of 22.7%

The rate highlights a segment of the population that is technically employed but doesn’t earn enough to survive.

The “true unemployment rate” defined by the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity takes the official unemployment rate — the share of the population that is unemployed and looking for work — and adds in people who are employed but want to work more hours and those who take home less than $20,000 per year. 

It excludes people who aren’t working by choice and part-time workers who are satisfied with their hours, like college students. 

The seasonally adjusted official unemployment rate in Minnesota is currently 2.6%, lower than the national average of 3.6%.

The Twin Cities metro area has a high proportion of workers earning a living wage compared to the general population. 

The Ludwig Institute also publishes a metric called the “true unemployment rate out of population,” which groups together people who make no or very little money. 

The rate includes people over the age of 16 who don’t have a job — like retirees and stay-at-home parents — as well as low-wage earners and dissatisfied part-time workers. 

In short, the metric measures the percent of the population that is functionally unemployed, whether they want to be or not. It’s a unique way of looking at unemployment rates, which usually focus on people who are actively looking for work and not finding it.

In the Twin Cities, 42.8% of the population is either not working or not earning enough to survive. That’s the third-lowest of 50 major metro areas.