The United States' economy has been in a deep and prolonged recession since 2008 with unemployment greater than 9% over the entire time period. Further the structure of the U.S. economy has been shifting over time. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between January of 2001 and January of 2014 employment in manufacturing declined by about 30% (from 17.1 million to 12.1 million). In contrast, the same source reports service sector jobs actually expanded 9.8% over this period, growing from 108.1 million to 118.7 million jobs. Minnesota and Wisconsin have lost manufacturing jobs somewhat more slowly (each is down about 25% over the January 2001 – January 2014 period) and gained service sector jobs at a rate comparable to or slightly below the national average.
The economies of counties in the St. Croix River valley have also suffered during the "Great Recession." Unemployment in the region has declined after peaking 2009, though it tends to be lower than the national average. Counties (Chisago and Polk) further from the Twin Cities have experienced a sharper economic downturn than those closer to the metro area. More than 4 out of 5 jobs in the St. Croix River valley counties are supplied by the private sector.