Putting the Target Layoffs Into Perpsective

On Wednesday, Target CEO Brian Cornell announced that “several thousand” employees, mainly at their Downtown Minneapolis headquarters, would be laid off in the next couple of years as they “adapt to changing shopper habits.” We quickly learned that everyone in Minnesota has a good friend at the c-suite level at Target, and the sizzling hot takes singed eyelashes in comment sections across the local Internet. Target, the largest single employer downtown, owns or leases much of three separate office complexes along Nicollet Mall, housing about 10,000 workers out of about 160,000 total in the central business district.

Target Employment ChartSome perspective! “Several” is generally defined as more than but not a lot more than “two,” so if we go with “three” thousand, out of 160,000 total, that would be 1.875% of total downtown employment. Granted, it’s a higher percentage of total white collar jobs. There are also several thousand “headquarters” employees working at their Brooklyn Park campus, about a seven minute drive from the Champlin Pizza Ranch.

It is possible that early reports were a bit dramatic–there are multiple definitions of “dominant,” but Minneapolis is pretty widely known for having a diversified economy–Wells Fargo, for instance, is currently building two office towers in Downtown East and employs just a few thousand fewer employees than Target. There are considerably more government jobs downtown than Target jobs. Anyway, the point is that this is not the end of the world, and if you were building a $50 million dollar apartment project and its financial viability is that vulnerable to changes in market conditions, that’s on you.

Though no one is happy to see several thousand jobs lost in downtown Minneapolis, it is generally doing very well. In fact, our region and state are doing very well. These three thousand employees are not being tossed out with two weeks’ notice into the Las Vegas or Phoenix job markets of 2009.

Actually, doing a quick thought experiment–what if, out of those three thousand corporate employees, a hundred or so decide to start new businesses? Many of which will fill vacant storefronts and hire a few locals and keep all their profits here, rather than siphoning them off to investors across the country? Maybe a net gain for our local economy in the long-term?

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8 Responses to Putting the Target Layoffs Into Perpsective

  1. Bill Lindeke
    Bill Lindeke March 6, 2015 at 11:49 am #

    Did you make that amazing graph? well done!

  2. Matty Lang
    Matty Lang March 6, 2015 at 1:54 pm #

    The Brooklyn Park campus sure turned a lot of farmland into parking lots.


    • Ben March 6, 2015 at 7:49 pm #

      With all that parking space why is LRT needed? I live right off of West Broadway and do not want the LRT to run up that street. It will eliminate some lanes of traffic and cause more congestion. Not to mention the negative impact to those of us living in close proximity to it.

      • Alex Cecchini
        Alex Cecchini March 9, 2015 at 8:26 am #

        Just a thought, it may be more beneficial to elevate this conversation a little beyond a mostly anonymous comment here and there when BP comes up. I’d fully encourage you to write a streets.mn post about your thoughts on alignments, local needs/desires if you think it will help the Bottineau LRT planning/engineering process.

  3. Mike Hicks March 6, 2015 at 8:51 pm #

    These days, I usually consider “a couple” to be about 2 (though I used to use it for much bigger numbers). I’ll say “a few” for somethnig like 3-5, and, because of the spelling, “several” for numbers somewhere near 7 (plus or minus a couple, or maybe a few, but I try to keep it below a dozen).

  4. Joe March 9, 2015 at 8:39 am #

    So we can lose >5% of white-collar jobs in our downtown without batting an eye? I knew things were good here, but I didn’t realize they were that good. But I guess that is just my “perpsective.”

  5. eric March 9, 2015 at 9:36 am #

    Need context. This article seemingly intentionally put out the most optimistic fraction possible by reducing the nominator as much as possible (indeed 3k by the author’s own definition of several is the smallest possible number) and also included (I think please correct if wrong) all jobs downtown as the denominator rather than simply the number of white-collar “creative class” jobs that will surely be lost at Target.

    Need context please. Also I’d like to hear why the author believes that residential developers are at fault for proposing projects that, given a change in market forces, would no longer be viable.

  6. Sam Rockwell
    Sam March 9, 2015 at 4:02 pm #

    A 3000 person high quality office space in the middle of downtown Minneapolis could provide an opportunity for large suburban employers to move to downtown. I write this wistfully while sitting in a 3000 person corporate campus (perfect fit!).

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