Economic Development and Transportation

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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 more than 67,000.

Minnesota ranked 15th in the Forbes 2014 List of the Best States for Business, coming in third for quality of life.

Also in 2014, 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 26, a slight increase from 30 in 2013 and a substantial increase over its rankings of 114 in 2011. Job growth, wage growth, short-term job growth, high-tech GDP growth and 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.

Business parks

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 within the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area.

Workforce

The St. Cloud area’s labor force participation rate was 73 percent in 2010, higher than Minnesota’s 71 percent, which is the third-highest
in the nation.

  • In 2015, the region’s labor force reached a new peak of just under 385,000 workers.
  • About 65 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 Central Minnesota will have the fastest growth of any region statewide.
  • Over three-quarters of workers have a commute of 30 minutes or less.
Transportation

Major highway systems offering convenient travel in and out of the St. Cloud metropolitan area include:

  • Interstate Highway 94Minnesota Highway 23
  • U.S. Highway 10Minnesota Highway 15
Public Transit
  • Metro Bus serves St. Cloud, Sartell, Sauk Rapids and Waite Park seven days a week with Fixed Route, Dial-a-Ride and University 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 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 mainte-nance 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, NV.