President Barack Obama was visiting three lakeshore manufacturers in Wisconsin on Wednesday, a day after making job creation a key part of his State of the Union address.
Minnesota's unemployment rate of 7 percent is lower than the national average of 9.4 percent, but it hasn't moved much in the past several months.
Here's a look at how Minnesota's economy is faring as Obama and Congress try to create more jobs and move the country from recession to recovery.
Minnesota added 29,300 jobs in 2010, a gain of 1.1 percent over the year and better than the U.S. growth rate of 0.8 percent. However, December also saw Minnesota's biggest single monthly job loss (22,400) since at least 1990.
According to the The Conference Board Help Wanted index, Minnesota saw the number of online help wanted ads grow 44 percent from December of 2009 to last month. That's twice the growth rate of the nation as a whole over the same period.
Minnesota's manufacturing sector had a strong 2010. Factories added jobs in 9 out of 12 months last year. Over the year, manufacturing companies added 10,700 net new jobs. In December, manufacturing posted the strongest year-over-year job growth of any major industry in Minnesota.
EXPORTS (NON-FARM PRODUCTS)
State exports reached $4.4 billion in the third quarter of 2010, showing an increase of 17 percent (or $649 million) compared to the same period of 2009.
But that growth rate lagged the nation as a whole. U.S. exports grew 19 percent. Minnesota export growth lagged the U.S. for the first nine months of last year.
Minnesota exports increased 18 percent in the first three quarters of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009. U.S. exports grew 21 percent.
Obama mentioned in Tuesday's speech that he wants to see big investments in the clean energy sector.
In Minnesota, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development reported 900 estimated green job vacancies in the second quarter of 2010, which represents 2.2 percent of all job vacancies in the state at the time.
The Minneapolis Fed cites in a report on the renewable energy sector in Minnesota that the state will see jobs in that sector grow from an estimated 59,600 in 2009 to about 64,000 by 2016. The Fed compared it to a compound growth rate of 1 percent, which equal to average job growth in the state from December 1997 to December 2007, when more than 250,000 jobs were added.
Minnesota ranks 13th in the 2010 State New Economy Index, which aims to "assess states' fundamental capacity to successfully navigate the shoals of economic change." The index gauges the extent to which state economies are knowledge-based, globalized, entrepreneurial, IT-driven, and innovation-based.
Minnesota's ranking fell from 11th in 2007. The index, compiled by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, uses 26 indicators, divided into five categories:
1) Knowledge jobs 2) Globalization 3) Economic dynamism 4) Transformation to a digital economy 5) Technological innovation capacity
Minnesota is tied for 2nd place with Alaska in the percentage of the population with a high school diploma (91.6 percent), according to numbers from 2008. Wyoming is slightly ahead with 91.7 percent.
Minnesota is ranked 11th in the country for the percentage of the population with a bachelor's degree (31.5 percent). The District of Columbia leads with 48.2 percent, followed by Massachusetts with 38.1 percent.
Minnesota has the highest ranking among states in the Midwest.
As for the number of postsecondary graduates in science and engineering, Minnesota ranks 20th in terms of the raw number, with nearly 15,600 post-secondary graduates in science and engineering. When adjusted for population, Minnesota ranks 8th.
(MPR reporter Elizabeth Dunbar contributed to this report.)