St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - Minnesota saw a surge of job vacancies in the final three months of last year.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development issued a report today that shows there were almost 137,000 job vacancies statewide in the fourth quarter of 2018. That’s up about 20-percent when compared to the same three month period in 2017 and means there are almost 2 job vacancies for every 1 person who is listed as unemployed.

“Minnesota continues to experience strong hiring demand statewide,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “This tight labor market highlights the importance of investing in DEED’s training programs and lowering barriers to employment so that all Minnesotans can find work.”

The data shows the number of job vacancies, compared to the previous year, grew by about 11-percent in the Twin Cities area and were up over 34-percent in Greater Minnesota. The occupations with the most job vacancies during fourth quarter 2018 were retail salespersons, with 7,400 vacancies, followed by personal care aides with 6,800 vacancies and combined food preparation and serving workers with 6,700 vacancies.

37-percent of the vacancies were for part-time positions and another 9-percent were for seasonal or temporary work. The statistics also show the majority did not require post-high school education, but 45-percent did require at least one year of experience. The median wage offer for all of the vacancies was just over $15 per hour and 56-percent of the jobs offer health insurance.