The Issue

Last Place Isn’t The Right Place For A Winner

Minnesota is extraordinary. We’re home to the most famous healthcare organization in the world. We have a shopping mall the size of 78 football fields. We have more miles of shoreline than California, Florida and Hawaii combined. We’re #2 in the nation for having the best quality of life in the nation. We’re known for being rather nice.

But when it comes to racial employment equity, we’re behind every single state in the country. Seriously, we’re in last place. Not only is that wrong, it’s not very smart.

The Economic Reality

By 2040, 43% of the total population in the region, and 54% of residents under age 18, will be people of color. In fact, according to Metropolitan Council – Thrive MSP, nearly all of our region’s net workforce growth over the next three decades will come from residents of color. Think of the economic growth that will be missed if there isn’t greater diversity in the workplace. Minnesota will suffer formidable revenue and GDP losses and the Twin Cities will not be a player economically. Case in point, Minnesota’s GDP would have been $16 billion higher in 2011 if there had been no racial gaps in income. While the economic impact of racial employment equity is paramount to Minnesota, consider what it means to African Americans and Native Americans:

African Americans

  • Black people in Minneapolis are 3.1 times more likely to be unemployed as whites
  • By the year 2020, 6,640 African Americans need to be employed each year to eliminate the racial employment gap in Minnesota
  • Educational and economic prospects of this group are dire
  • If people of color don’t get hired, our economic future is at risk

Source: Met Council

Native Americans

  • Closing the Native American employment gap would require about 2,838 jobs
  • Minnesota ranked 3rd in Native American-white employment rate gap by 23.9 percentage points among the 25-54 year old population from 2009-2011
  • In the first half of 2013, the American Indian unemployment rate was 11.3 percent. American Indians have endured five years of unemployment rates over 10 percent

Source: Economic Policy Institute

Dream Of What Could Be Gained

As people of color become a greater share of the workforce, the benefits of closing racial gaps will grow to more than $5 trillion in GDP per year by 2030.

Source: Policy Link

Reducing existing disparities is essential for the continuing economic prosperity of the region. If people of color experience the same socioeconomic status as caucasians by 2040, it will result in:

  • 274,000 fewer residents in poverty
  • 171,000 more residents with a high school diploma
  • 124,000 more people with jobs
  • $31.8 billion in additional income

Source: Met Council

Building and sustaining a vibrant Minnesota depends on our collective mission of closing the racial employment disparity gap. That is an economic win. For everybody.