Minnesota employers reported nearly 137,000 job vacancies in the fourth quarter of 2018, which is up 20 percent from the same period one year earlier, according to figures recently released by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

DEED’s job vacancy survey found the state had 0.6 percent unemployed people for every job vacancy. The job vacancy rate was 4.9 percent, meaning there were 4.9 openings for every 100 jobs in the state.

In the 2017 fourth quarter survey, the statewide job vacancy rate was 4.2 percent.

“Minnesota continues to experience strong hiring demand statewide,” said Steve Grove, DEED commissioner. “This tight labor market highlights the importance of investing in DEED’s training programs and lowering barriers to employment so that all Minnesotans can find work.”

The seven-county Twin Cities metro had 76,500 job vacancies (55.9 percent of the statewide total). Rural Minnesota had 60,400 vacancies. Job vacancies in the Twin Cities were up 11.2 percent from one year ago and job vacancies in rural Minnesota were up 34.4 percent. The Twin Cities had 0.5 unemployed people to every vacancy, while rural Minnesota had 0.7 people to every vacancy.

Statewide, the health care and social assistance industry had the most job vacancies (18 percent) followed by retail trade (13 percent), accommodation and food service (12 percent) and manufacturing (8 percent). The occupations with the most job vacancies during fourth quarter 2018 were retail salespersons, with 7,400 vacancies, followed by personal care aides with 6,800 vacancies and combined food preparation and serving workers with 6,700 vacancies.

By size, firms with 10 to 49 employees had the highest job vacancy rate at 7.1 percent (7.1 openings per 100 jobs). Firms with 250 or more employees had the lowest vacancy rate at 2.9 percent (2.9 openings per 100 jobs).

What follows were some of the other findings of the study:

• Thirty-seven percent of vacancies are for part-time employment. Part-time is defined as fewer than 35 hours a week.

• Nine percent are for temporary or seasonal work.

• Thirty-five percent require some level of post-secondary education or training beyond a high school diploma. This means the majority of vacancies require no education beyond high school.

• Forty-five percent require one or more years of work experience.

• The median wage offer for all job vacancies is $15.01 per hour. Wage offers are highly correlated with experience and education requirements.

• Fifty-six percent of vacancies offer health insurance. Health care benefits are far less common for part-time job vacancies than full-time job vacancies.

Go to the DEED Web site for more details on the fourth quarter 2018 job vacancy survey.

DEED conducts the job vacancy survey in the second and fourth quarters each year to gauge hiring demand and to determine job vacancy characteristics by industry, occupation and firm size in Minnesota. DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development.

For more details about the agency and its services, visit the DEED Web site at mn.gov/deed.