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Joe Crumley
Joe Crumley
Attorney • (800) 770-7008

Twin Cities Best for Business Again

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For years, corporate lobbyists and insurers have complained about an alleged "bad business climate" in Minnesota. This is pure tort deform propaganda, and has been disproven time after time

For the second straight year, CBS MarketWatch has named the Twin Cities as the Best Metro Area in the United States to do business.

Last year, the Twin Cities was at the top of MarketWatch’s list in the first annual survey of where companies tend to gravitate and create the most jobs. It appears little has changed for the region, as the concentration of companies has stayed strong, and job growth continues while unemployment remains relatively low.

….How is it possible for a frigid northern outpost to attract the talent it needs to support the region’s massive business community? It’s not always easy, locals concede. "Why is it hard to get people here? Because they expect snow to be blowing in July," said Douglas Baker, chairman and chief executive at Ecolab Inc., based in St. Paul. It typically takes 60 to 90 days to close the deal with a potential executive, according to Tom Valerius, vice president of recruitment services for Minneapolis-based UnitedHealth Group Inc., the country’s biggest health insurer. "You sell them on the job, and then you sell them on the Twin Cities," Valerius said. "Usually, at the end of the day, the big sell is on the spouse, more than the executive." The area has managed to attract enough talent to support those two firms, as well as such legacy companies as industrial conglomerate 3M Co. , food heavyweight General Mills Inc., insurer Travelers Cos. and financial powerhouse U.S. Bancorp. The Twin Cities are also home to retail giants Target Corp. and Best Buy Co. , medical-device makers Medtronic Inc. and St. Jude Medical, and big private firms Cargill and CHS. Cargill has replaced Kansas chemical maker Koch Industries at the very top of Forbes’ rankings of the nation’s biggest private firms. There are a few vulnerable companies in the region, to be sure; Northwest Airlines is one. But the Twin Cities ticked up slightly in the rankings of concentration of Russell 2000 companies, so the region seems prepared to handle whatever economic onslaught may be on tap. Many of the region’s companies are home-grown and have thrived in the environment. UnitedHealth, for example, was started in 1974 and now boasts $80 billion in annual sales. Other companies have deeper roots, such as Traveler’s in St. Paul, which got its start in 1853. It’s been sustained in part by a highly ranked school system and the network of higher-education providers in the region. "It’s a very educated workforce," said Andy Bessette, Traveler’s chief administrative officer. "The people here, the school systems, are very good." In the MarketWatch rankings, Minneapolis-St. Paul ended up with 324 points overall, down five points from the 329 it notched last year. It was in the top 10 in five of the eight categories studied, and it was just one spot out of the top 10 in concentration of Russell 2000 companies. The Twin Cities were in the middle of the pack of 50 metro areas studied — those with roughly 1 million in population or more — in population growth and job growth. It lost a little ground in the unemployment average but still ranked high.

The next time you hear someone talk tort ‘reform’ or blaming litigation for Minnesota’s business climate, you can tell them the true facts: Minnneso