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North Star Report: Minnesota Ahead of Wisconsin in Construction Industry Growth

Updated: July 25, 2018 07:03 PM

A new report comparing Minnesota and Wisconsin's construction industry growth was released Wednesday by North Star Policy Institute, a progressive group that pushes for awareness of state-level public policies. 

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The study looked at how the two state's construction industries recovered from the Great Recession, and also shed some light into what may be in store for the future.

According to the study, Minnesota is ahead when it comes to construction growth.

Wednesday, the findings of the years long study was released in front of one of the Duluth's most recent projects - Superior Street, which Mayor Emily Larson said represents the investments being made in local infrastructure.

"This is both a refreshing of our downtown; it's a job growth, job creation strategy, and it's updating all of the infrastructure we have beneath it," said Larson at the press conference.

Larson was among city leaders and representatives from the institute.

"Our report is a deeper dive into a specific industry - public and private construction. In both the number of jobs and the quality of these jobs, Minnesota comes out ahead," said Katie Hatts, Executive Director with the institute.

Part of the study was examining the decline in the construction industry during the Great Recession. Between 2007 and 2010, both states loss approximately 32,000 jobs.

"However, that's where the similarity ends. Minnesota began to add construction jobs in 2011, and Wisconsin two years later," said Jeff Van Wychen, Co-Author of the study.

Minnesota added about 31,000 construction jobs between 2010 and 2017, a 33 percent increase. While Wisconsin added 22,000, an about 24 percent increase.

Hatts says the successes and failures are contributed to the differences in policies and investments made in the two states.

"Minnesota's economy is stronger than Wisconsin's thanks to progressive policies focused on expanding opportunities for working families," said Hatts.

Superior city councilor, Dan Olson says he agrees and want to see a change across the bridge.

"I urge Wisconsin to step up in the near future and try and model what we're doing here in Minnesota, make sure we're making the impacts we need to on our communities," said Olson. 

The report also analyzed wage trends in the two states since the Great Recession. The average annual construction wage increased $2,000 more than in Wisconsin. 

The full study results can be found on North Star Policy Institute's website. 

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