The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development sends out a regular news letter and usually profiles a few counties. The latest edition took a look at the work force of Steele County. While the labor force of Steele County added just over 2,000 workers between 2000 to 2017, 2012 is still the peak year. Then the county saw its labor force decline in 3 of the next 5 years but big gains since 2015 has pushed the number of workers to within 50 of the high water mark in 2012.

As far as the types of work, manufacturing is still king in the county accounting for 28% of all jobs. Of the 87 Minnesota counties, Steele ranks sixth in terms of depending on manufacturing for jobs. Retail ranks number 2 as far as employment in the county accounting for 14% of the work force.

The report notes that Steele County gained 806 jobs in manufacturing between 2012-2017 and health care and social assistance jobs gained 140 positions. However, the retail sector lost 116 jobs with administrative support and waste management losing 1,615 jobs.

Finally a look at the wage scale. The average yearly pay varied from just under $25,000 in the retail sector to a high of over $52,000 in manufacturing. Steele County has 962 firms of which 162 are retail and manufacturing as 70 of the firms.