Q & A: How many workers commute to Rochester?

Question (by Chuck):

Can you give me an estimate of the total number of workers that commute to Rochester each day?  I’m thinking it may be on the order of 30,000 or so?

Answer (by Phil Wheeler – Planning Director):

Chuck – It’s a surprisingly hard question to answer. The total number of jobs in Olmsted County according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis is 112,385, of which 92,957 are nonfarm wage and salary jobs. This is at odds with the 89,210 wage and salary jobs identified by the Minnesota DEED. Then you have the distinction between workers and jobs; in 2000, we estimated that 20% of workers held more than one job. Using the BEA’s number, 92,957 would take 77,500 workers to fill with 20% of workers holding more than one job. Adding the BEA’s 16,800 proprietor jobs (assuming no multiple job holding for that group), we have 94,300 workers holding jobs in Olmsted County. Since the employed labor force is 78,540, of whom 13,000 worked outside Olmsted County, that means we have in-commuters to Olmsted County of (94,300 – 78540 + 13,000) 28,760. If you use jobs and not workers (or if commuters with more than one job take more than one round trip) you end up with 31,500 commuters to Olmsted County.

Rochester attracts workers from “outside Rochester within Olmsted County” as well as from outside Olmsted County. Using the conservative LEHD data for nonfarm wage and salary employment, commuters into Rochester total 36,000. Working through the BEA employment data and adjusting for multiple job holding ends up at a comparable number. Adding a modest commuter number for proprietor employment results in a total number of commuters into Rochester of 40,461, or roughly 40,000.

That’s my answer and I’m sticking to it. I am copying Steve & Gary because they had a similar question in conversation last week. – Phil

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