Economist: Rochester a hot spot for job growth through 2020

A national economist is once again pointing to Rochester as a leading hot spot for job growth in the U.S., particularly for "creative class" jobs.

Economist and urban theorist Richard Florida is forecasting that Rochester will show faster growth in new creative class jobs by 2020 than any other city in the United States. That's based on percentage growth, not total jobs.

Florida originally coined that term in his book, "The Rise of the Creative Class." It refers to professions in areas that include the arts, media and entertainment as well as health care, engineering and law.

In a recent article for The Atlantic, he projected that creative class jobs in Rochester would grow 19.6 percent by 2020.

"The growth in creative class jobs is a bright spot on the employment horizon. And the growth in these jobs in smaller metros … is especially good news," according to Florida. "Creative class jobs pay well, in excess of $70,000 on average, because they leverage two kinds of skills — analytical or cognitive skills and social intelligence skills,"


Rochester's projected growth is much higher than what is forecast for cities including Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver and the Twin Cities. The next cities on the list are Ocala, Fla., and Punta Gorda, Fla., which both are expected to tally a 19 percent growth for jobs in this category.

This is not the first time the Med City has been spotlighted by this urban theorist. In 2010, he listed Rochester as the city that will see the most growth  — a project 12.6 percent — in all types of jobs by 2018.

How does Florida's forecast match up with data from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development?

"When I hear these studies, I always urge a little bit of caution. These are very broad data models," said Kyle Uphoff, regional analyst for DEED.

That said, these estimates do not seem out of line when compared to DEED's employment outlook for all of southeastern Minnesota through 2019, he said.

"Ours might be a little smaller than that. Without doing the math, I'd say it's probably in the same bracket," Uphoff said.

DEED's forecast for some of the creative class jobs are an increase of 34.1 percent for dental hygienists, 33 percent for life scientists, 32.7 percent for biological technicians,25.8 percent for medical technicians and 23.7 percent for registered nurses. Those estimates include all of southeastern Minnesota, though Rochester does account for the bulk of the jobs.

Minnesota's employment outlook is forecasting that health care practitioner jobs could grow by a 4,500 and computer-related positions could grow by 413 in the region.


"While some might not think of Rochester as creative, its large numbers of health care and computer jobs fit the creative class description, and they are why it is showing up in these reports,"  Uphoff said. "Another thing Rochester has going for it is the benefit of a very quickly growing educational industry."

Educational jobs are also considered part of the creative class. DEED says there could 1,100 of those jobs added to the region by 2019.

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