Wisconsin, Minnesota construction gap stirs debate

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Construction in Minnesota has bounced back from the Great Recession much faster than in Wisconsin, but not everyone agrees on why.

A new report from the North Star Policy Institute, a progressive think tank based in St. Paul, shows that Minnesota has seen stronger growth in both total construction employment and construction wages than Wisconsin since the financial crash a decade ago.

Using state and federal data, the authors say that both states lost about 32,000 construction jobs, about 25 percent of their total workforce, in the crash. By 2017, Minnesota had recovered all but 650 of the jobs lost since 2007, while Wisconsin still had about 8,800 to go, the report said.

Wage growth has favored Minnesota workers as well. Although both states saw wages fall in the recession, Minnesota’s average annual construction wage has risen by almost $6,800 since 2010, compared with a $4,700 increase in Wisconsin, according to the report.

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