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The MSP Regional Indicators Dashboard compares the Greater Minneapolis-Saint Paul region’s progress on critical economic, social and environmental measures against other peer regions across the country. Leaders in business, government, the nonprofit sector and higher education helped create the Dashboard and continue to use it to make decisions. Staying economically competitive is about more than just one indicator. From business vitality to education and infrastructure to livability – all these measures matter.

One particular indicator is most applicable to goals and objectives of Make It. MSP. The Dashboard tracks the net migration of 25-34 year olds, or the difference between the millennials attracted to our region and those who left. The Dashboard tracks this group because 25-34 year olds are the most likely to relocate (with the exception of 18-24 year olds, data skewed by a high student population.)

A quick look at this year’s Dashboard reveals a major shift in our region’s performance attracting and retaining millennials. Nearly 9,000 more 25-34 year olds moved into the MSP region than left it during 2016, the latest available data for the Dashboard. That represents an improvement of more than 400% over previous years, vaulting MSP ahead of peer regions like Austin, Portland, and San Francisco, and leaving it just shy of Denver and within reach of national leaders like Atlanta and Dallas. (It’s important to point out that this particular dashboard only tracks MSP and 11 peer metro regions.)

This type of step change is what Make It. MSP. partners are looking for as they seek to make the region a consistent Top 10 performer at the net migration of talent. And it shows there’s a path to achieving that ambition. However, one year’s performance does not signify a trend, so this should still serve as a motivator to leaders working to better attract and retain more people.

As shared this spring, 2016 improvements for MSP are due more to improved retention of talent rather than greater attraction. In fact, we believe the best long-term strategies to attract talented people to MSP start with better elevating and retaining the incredible and diverse people who call this place home.

Given this reality, other Dashboard indicators are equally important to Make It. MSP. partners. For example, we are proud of our top ranking at overall labor force participation and the percentage of women and foreign-born residents working here. The fact that MSP ranked #1 in the percentage of household income spent on housing and transportation is another incredible strength.

On the other hand, the Dashboard shows MSP continues to experience one of the worst employment gaps between white people and people of color. Similar disparities show up in measures of poverty, education, and home ownership. The continuation of these gaps prompted leaders from the region’s new Center for Economic Inclusion to call for action upon release of the 2018 dashboard.

In reality, all these indicators go hand in hand. Whether it’s migration of talent or other indicators on the dashboard that inspire your work, the measures add up. And the more we improve, the more this will be a place where all people can come, stay, and thrive.

To view the MSP Regional Indicators Dashboard, including previous editions, please visit the GREATER MSP website.