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.
Some 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?