Rochester's economy showing signs of new strength - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Rochester's economy showing signs of new strength


ROCHESTER (KTTC) -- There are fresh and clear signs that the Rochester economy has rebounded from the deep recession of 2009, with jobs added in the past twelve months and building permit valuation bouncing back.

The data was released Thursday in a quarterly economic report from Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI).

The positive news about jobs added and commercial and residential building permits issued is somewhat stained by negative trends reported for home sales activity and passenger traffic volumes for 2010 at Rochester International Airport.

But the most impressive statistic of all is in job growth; with the Rochester metro area adding 1,325 non-agricultural jobs by year's end when compared to the end of 2009.  There was a slight job loss in the fourth quarter of 2010, but the overall employment gains came when measured over the twelve month period.  Mayo Clinic's powerful influence is evident, with RAEDI reporting that 921 of those new jobs came in the "Educational and Health Services" sector.

Rochester's unemployment rate stood at 5.5 percent at the end of December, compared to Minnesota's statewide rate of 6.8 percent and the jobless estimate across the entire U.S. of 9.1 percent.

RAEDI studied commercial and residential building permits issued by the Rochester Building Safety Department and reports that for 2010, permit valuation was up 22.8 percent from 2009, but is still 26.7 percent below the boom year of 2008.  Last year's permit valuation total was $199,855,733.

The Rochester real estate market was significantly less active in 2010, with lower sales volumes even though mortgage rates are still low.  RAEDI says total sales for last year were $269,339,883.  It quotes the Southeast Minnesota Association of Realtors as saying that the Rochester real estate market is adjusting to fewer buyers and increased time on the market for single family homes.

Airport traffic was also down in 2010, with Rochester International handling 240,237 passengers during the year.  That's down 6.6 percent from 2009 and 19.3 percent lower than 2008.

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