The St. Cloud area population grew by 20 percent between 2000 and 2010 – almost three times as fast as the state of Minnesota. With nearly 190,000 people, the St. Cloud area is the third-largest metropolitan area in the state. The city of St. Cloud is one of the 10 largest in Minnesota, with a population of 68,000.
Minnesota ranked sixth in CNBC’s “America’s Top States for Business 2018,” coming in third for quality of life, fifth for technology and sixth for infrastructure.
In 2017, the nonprofit, nonpartisan economic think tank Milken listed the St. Cloud region as a best-performing “small city.” The St. Cloud MSA garnered the ranking of 57, behind Mankato at 37, and ahead of Rochester at 68, the only three Minnesota cities to make the top 100. Job growth, wage growth, short-term job growth, high-tech GDP growth and the number of high-tech industries are included in the ranking.
The region’s diverse economy boasts a strong agricultural base, but that’s just the beginning. Look around and you’ll find homegrown technology firms such as Netgain, Marco and GeoComm; international manufacturing concerns including New Flyer and Coldspring; and regional operations such as Coborn’s grocery stores, Anderson Trucking Service and the CentraCare Health system.
Nearly two dozen industrial parks and business centers are located within the St. Cloud area, and even more in outlying communities. They have hundreds of acres of land available, utilities included, for approximately one-third of the cost of comparable property found in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area.
The St. Cloud area’s labor force participation rate was 73 percent in 2016, higher than Minnesota’s overall rate of 70 percent, which is the fourth-highest in the nation.
- In 2017, the region’s labor force reached a new peak of just under 235,360 workers.
- About 64 percent of the workforce in the region is between the prime working ages of 25 and 54 years old.
- Labor force projections for the region over the next decade anticipate that region 7W (the greater St. Cloud area) will have the fastest growth in Greater Minnesota.
- The region is a labor exporter, having more workers than jobs. Still, almost 50,000 workers commute into Region 7W for work.
Major highway systems offering convenient travel in and out of the St. Cloud metropolitan area include:
- Interstate Highway 94 ϒ Minnesota Highway 23
- U.S. Highway 10 ϒ Minnesota Highway 15
Metro Bus serves St. Cloud, Sartell, Sauk Rapids and Waite Park seven days a week with Fixed Route and Dial-a-Ride public transit services. Schedule information at ridemetrobus.com or (320) 251-7433.
Northstar Link Commuter Buses from St. Cloud and Becker meet most Northstar trains in Big Lake seven days a week including Twins and Vikings games. Schedule information is at catchthelink.com.
Located in downtown St. Cloud, the Mobility Training Center features a simulated street environment for training and assessing an individual’s physical and cognitive abilities as they relate to using public transportation.
St. Cloud Regional Airport
The St. Cloud Regional Airport’s economic impact (stcloudairport.com) reaches $14 million a year, employs 95 people and oversees the maintenance of approximately 100 aircraft. The 7,000-foot runway, modern control tower and 19,000 square-foot commercial aviation terminal that seats up to 200 passengers, positions the facility to easily accommodate regional air traffic.
Allegiant Air provides low-cost, non-stop travel between the St. Cloud Regional Airport and the Phoenix metropolitan area, and seasonal service to Fort Myers, Florida.
Sun Country Airlines provides occasional charter services between St. Cloud and Laughlin, Nevada.