Minnesota Economy Growing at a Modest Pace

- Housing shows signs of stability

- Manufacturing and export growth moderating

- Government job cuts ease

Nov 13, 2012, 09:39 ET from BMO Harris Bank

MINNEAPOLIS and ST. PAUL, Minn., Nov. 13, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Minnesota economy is growing at a modest pace, according to the State Monitor Report released today by BMO Capital Markets Economics. While growth in exports and factory activity has moderated, government-sector job cuts have eased and the jobless rate is below the national average.

Employment continues to exhibit modest growth. Nonfarm payrolls were up and the jobless rate was a relatively low 5.8 percent in September. The manufacturing sector is gradually adding jobs and construction employment has bounced back alongside a modest pickup in home building. Government-sector job cuts have subsided with payrolls in that category rising in 3 of the latest 4 months.

"Our commercial customers continue to express optimism and confidence in the state's economic resiliency," said Todd Senger, Commercial Banking Managing Director for Minneapolis, BMO Harris Bank. "Our local expertise, sector knowledge and mid-market focus are real advantages to helping our customers find solutions as they invest and upgrade their businesses."

While housing is still weak in Minnesota, a prolonged period of price declines has given way to some positive momentum in recent months. The months' supply of homes for sale in the Twin Cities has gradually fallen and residential construction has also gained some positive momentum in 2012. "All told, Minnesota's housing market exhibits about average stress," said Dr. Sherry Cooper, Chief Economist, BMO Financial Group. "But firmer price trends and an upturn in homebuilding activity are encouraging."

A recession in Europe and slowdown in Asia have weighed on global factory output and that has begun to cool growth in the export sector. In Minnesota, exports were up just 1.2 percent year-over-year in the second quarter, down from a double-digit pace a year earlier.

State tax collections are on the rise, up 10 percent year over year in the second quarter of 2012 alongside a jump in corporate tax receipts.

The full State Monitor report can be downloaded at www.bmocm.com/economics .

About BMO Harris Bank
Based in Chicago, BMO Harris Bank N.A. provides a broad range of personal banking products and solutions through over 600 branches and approximately 1,300 ATMs in Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Minnesota, Nevada, Arizona and Florida. BMO Harris Bank's commercial banking team provides a combination of sector expertise, local knowledge and mid-market focus throughout the U.S. Deposit and loan products and services provided by BMO Harris Bank N.A. Member FDIC. BMO Harris BankSM is a trade name used by BMO Harris Bank N.A. BMO Harris Bank is part of BMO Financial Group, a North American financial organization with 1,600 branches, and a retail deposit base of approximately $180 billion

SOURCE BMO Harris Bank