Retail Traffic

Twin Poles

Minneapolis-St. Paul has had better days than many of its other Midwestern counterparts. The Twin Cities, whose population is about 3.5 million people, had an unemployment rate of 4 percent in July, among the lowest in the nation.

The metro region, over the past several years, has added jobs at a faster pace than most other cities in the Midwest, attracting new residents at almost twice the rate of other cities in the Midwest, reports However, the retail expansion has been contained within its first-ring suburbs and in-fill sites, says Dan Hunt, president of Hunt & Associates, a Minneapolis-based developer.

The Twin Cities also have not been sheltered from the housing slump. In the second quarter, the number of new housing permits decreased to 1,934 from 2,677 during the same period last year, according to the Minneapolis Economic Development Corp. Moreover, the region recorded a 10 percent decline in sales of existing homes while the average sale price increased one percent to $277,000.

However, commercial construction activity remains strong, especially in downtown Minneapolis where a new sports stadium is under development. And, the rebuilding of the collapsed I-35 bridge that connects Minneapolis and St. Paul is expected to generate employment for thousands of construction workers.

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