Do fastest-growing industries, careers matter for Northfield’s economic development?

Jobs outlook Jobs outlook Jobs outlook Jobs outlook

Last week’s Strib had a special Jobs Outlook section that included a list of the fastest-growing U.S. industries and another list of the fastest-growing Minnesota careers. (I couldn’t find it online, so these are photos of the print version.)

Given the discussions we’ve seen in the ‘Business park proposal breeds uncertainty’ blog post, is there anything to be learned from these lists for Northfield’s economic development?


  1. Anne Bretts said:

    The scary thing about this list is that these are mainly service careers and industries, which are limited by the population base creating demand. They have a few top salaries, but don’t pay particularly well at most employee levels.

    September 22, 2008
  2. David Ludescher said:

    Anne: Why is that scary?

    September 22, 2008
  3. Anne Bretts said:

    It’s scary exactly for the reason I mentioned, that many of the jobs that will grow here don’t pay well.
    There are some decent professions on there, but many can be done overseas far less expensively than here, a fact which that list doesn’t address. For example, while news organizations are firing people here, many papers already are having business news, copyediting and ad design work are being done in India. With government records online, they can even do some local reporting from India. Say I need to make $50 an hour to freelance and cover my costs, and a writer in India can do the same story for $5. Who will an employer choose?
    Same with a lot of other computer work, from program design to technical operations. Radiologists in Bangalore are reading emergency room brain scans in Baltimore while the patient is being prepped for surgery. And medical tourism is making India a center of choice for people who want elective surgery.
    That means the ‘growth’ here will be in services that can’t be done via the Internet — things that involved hands-on care, which are things that traditionally aren’t valued highly here. Not so coincidently, many are women-dominated), such as child care, home health care, private school education, massage, beautician services, etc. There are some jobs on the list that pay well, but most of the ones mentioned above don’t offer a living wage and benefits. There are some good jobs on the list (I didn’t have time to evaluate and compare all of them), but there are a lot of them that are subsistance positions.
    There are some openings for the creative arts, but after a fascination with American culture, many countries are focusing on their own creations, from fashion to movies and music. Sadly, because Americans usually have no foreign language and culture knowledge, they will have a hard time tapping these growing markets.
    I’m not saying there’s no hope, just noting that it’s going to be a whole lot tougher than at any time in our history. We are moving from domination to direct competition.

    September 22, 2008
  4. Charlene Coulombe- Fiore said:

    Growing industries provide companies who provide stability, jobs and increase tax base by building and expanding in your community. So yes, this is very crucial for Economic Development and something that should be a part of your targeted market. So what’s next…. you go after these firms and entice them to come to the area and you provide a place for them to build and grow. You want to also be sure to have the labor and demographics to support these industries as well.

    September 23, 2008
  5. It’s not all about the money. My ideas about wind turbines and greenhouses for Northfield’s new growth would provide multi level jobs and incomes. I hope this idea catches on so that we can provide locally grown food and energy for decades to come.

    September 23, 2008
  6. What’s scary about this list is the implication that the city staff, planning commission and part-time council are better equipped than the market to pick economic winners and losers over the next 20 years or so and should “make room” for the anointed winners and ignore the suspected losers. Heck, even businesses can’t do that and they are able to fail without taking us with them (ooops).

    September 26, 2008

Leave a Reply