Spring 2011

The Newsletter of the Minnesota GIS/LIS Consortium

Table of Contents

MN GIS/LIS Consortium

From the Chair
Conference Planning

Mn/DOT Road Closures Site
Economic Data
Gypsy Moth Response

Proximity Finder

Red River LiDAR

Minneapolis Predictive Crime Mapping
Anoka Co. Recreation
GIS - Core Govt. Service

Land Cover 2006
USGS Historic Topo Scanning

Higher Education
Smart Growth & Transit

Will Craig, UCGIS Fellow
Robert McMaster, UCGIS Education Award
Marv Bauer, Pecora Award


Small Area Economic Data
By Will Craig, University of Minnesota

Commercial and job location data are available statewide. Depending on which region of the state you are interested in, the data is available at varying geographic levels (block group, city, or county).  Apparently this information is not widely known, which is my reason for writing this article. I was at a recent MetroGIS meeting where I heard about an expressed need for this data. The available data is fairly current and exists in a time series.

Commercial locations are tracked quite well by the Minnesota sales tax, excluding businesses selling clothing and groceries which are tax exempt purchases in Minnesota.  Business information is geocoded, summarized, and published annually by the Minnesota Department of Revenue. The level of summary varies based on whether the business is located in the seven county Twin Cities metro area or the remainder of the state, and the number of businesses in each assigned area.  In the metro area, the summary level is Census block group.  Outside the metro, the summary level is cities with a population of 2,000 or greater.  All other records in Minnesota are assigned to a county summary level.  The summarized data includes the total number of businesses and total sales tax receipts.

Spreadsheet data is currently available for Tax Years 2003-2008. Each subsequent release for the data is 18 months after the end of each calendar year. Data and metadata are available from MnGeo.

Jobs data is available at the block level from the Census Bureau’s Local Employment Dynamics (LED) program. It is based on unemployment insurance data paid by employers, so it excludes self-employed people. Data is currently available from 2002-2009. (In addition to job location data, LED also supplies information about the residential location of workers and the origin-destination connections made by commuters.)

Two services are available to access LED data: The Census Bureau’s On The Map and DEED’s (Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development) M3D application. The latter also includes information on affordable housing, day care, bus routes, and other items that could be useful to job seekers.

Employment Change by MCD, 2003-2008. Source: M3D

These and other data sources are listed in MetroGIS’s SocioEconomic data directory within DataFinder. Examples of other data include:

  • The U.S. Census Bureau’s Economic Census provides zip code level sales and job data every 5 years, most recently 2007.
  • Other employment data is available from DEED, with most data for counties and larger cities, but some being of finer resolution (most data is available on a monthly level since 2000).
  • MetroMSP provides annually updated business and employment data for the 11 metro counties - queries are made for a user-defined buffer around a point, and data is provided for the buffer as a whole and for individual businesses within the buffer.