FMWF is not just people friendly; we’re also business friendly! A strong economic climate paired with an unmatched entrepreneurial spirit, in what some have dubbed the “silicon prairie,” makes making a living here a great bet. Oh, and did we mention that our community is so easy to navigate that commuting is a breeze! So, let’s get to work.
Metro Area Major Employers
Which businesses employ the most in our community? Check out the largest Chamber member employers in our region, determined by the number of full-time equivalent employees (FTE) below.
Mean travel time to work: 15 minutes (compare this to the national average of 26 minutes)
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2014-2018, Fargo
Labor statistics and job growth
- Total regional employment: 154,987
- Labor force participation rate: 70.2%
- Unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted): 3%
Jobs in the metro grew by 5,448 over the last five years, an increase of 3.6%, and are projected to grow by 6,383 over the next five years.
Source: Emsi Q4 2020 Data Set via GFMEDC
There were 4,150 job openings in Cass County in November 2020. On average in Q2 2020 (April to June), the private industry in Cass County employing the largest number of workers was Health Care and Social Assistance. The private industry with the highest average weekly wage in Q2 was Utilities.
Cass County. Census 2019 data, current as of December 2, 2020. Source: North Dakota Job Service, Labor Market Information.
2020 Labor Force Breakdown
- Total Working Age Population: 200,531
- Not in Labor Force (15+): 59,739
- Labor Force: 140,792
- Employed: 135,274
- Unemployed: 5,518
- Under 15: 49,443
Source: Emsi Q4 2020 Data Set via GFMEDC
The importance of workforce
Workforce remains one of The Chamber’s top priorities, as we work with other economic development and community groups in the region and beyond. That’s why we launched the Fueling Our Future initiative to invest in programs and organizations that are contributing to the vitality of our business community and developing important pipelines between workforce training and employment. Learn more at fuelingourfuture.net.
Educating a workforce for a changing job landscape is one workforce issue our region faces, and yet another is the ability to train our workforce and attract talent in order to keep up with economic growth trends. Minnesota Compass reports that in Minnesota, employment projection indicates that by 2022, “Minnesota will need nearly 3.2 million workers to keep pace with historic rates of economic growth statewide. With just 2.9 million people over the age of 16 expected to be in the labor force and working, our state is expected to fall about 239,000 workers short.”
With various workforce issues facing our region, The Chamber and FOF have made this one of our top priorities. We will continue to address these issues through engaging in conversations, generating solutions and implementing action at the local and state level. We are excited to see so many others in our region step up to work on workforce!
Update on Career Workforce Academies
Our community never stops striving for more. One way this is demonstrated by our educational (or is it just education) systems is the progress in establishing Career Workforce Academies on both sides of the river. Career Academies provide opportunities for elementary through adult learners in career awareness, exploration, pathways, development and training. In part, this is accomplished through hands-on career training and program opportunities for those interested in a technical degree.
In 2019, Moorhead Area Public schools purchased the former Sam’s Club big box retail building with the plan to renovate it as a career academy. In Cass county, the career academy is a public/private partnership initiated by North Dakota State College of Science and the school districts of Fargo, West Fargo, Northern Cass, and Central Class. These excellent educational institutions, in alignment with the workforce needs of our area businesses, will be able to offer high quality education to educate our workforce and allow for further economic growth in our region.
The metro is big on entrepreneurship. Organizations like Emerging Prairie, Folkways, the Greater Fargo-Moorhead Economic Development Corporation, SCORE, the Small Business Administration, Moorhead Business Association, and more encourage entrepreneurial efforts, and can offer personalized support to help owners get a business off the ground.
Events like 1 Million Cups offers opportunities for entrepreneurs to gather, pitch ideas and collect feedback, and the Technology Incubator at NDSU continues to nurture startup businesses. There are even several programs to encourage young girls to get involved in STE(A)M in the region. There are various professional development and networking groups that can serve as a place to get involved and make new connections, too.
In 2005, the city of Fargo received designation as a foreign trade zone, an area that is designated for duty-free entry of goods. A foreign trade zone encourages more commercial activity in the region, allowing manufacturers to produce products in the area without having to pay U.S. customs duties.
Minnesota has one of the most generous foreign royalty deductions in the country. Minnesota corporations that license technology to foreign corporations can deduct 80% of the foreign royalties they receive if the payer is a member of the unitary group.
How we can help
We also want to support area business owners and budding entrepreneurs! We can act as a connector, and even if we don’t know the answer to an issue in your industry, we probably know someone who does! Let us know what you need help with, and we’ll do our best to help you reach an organization, individual or program that can step in.