Target lost its long-standing position as downtown Minneapolis' employer in 2023, according to the Minneapolis Downtown Council's latest "year in review" report.

Hennepin Healthcare now holds the top spot, with just over 7,200 employees. Previously the second largest employer, Hennepin Healthcare's headcount grew by 215 employees in 2023, while Target's remained at 7,100 downtown Minneapolis-based employees for the second consecutive year.

Target reported 8,500 employees working out of its Nicollet Mall headquarters in 2020 and 2021.

The Minneapolis-based retailer has largely been without a return-to-office mandate since the pandemic's onset, so some of its downtown workers moved elsewhere and others were hired as fully-remote employees in other markets. Target plans to start requiring hybrid employees who still live in the area to return to headquarters for one week per quarter beginning in early March.

All in all, 65% of downtown employees have returned to their office buildings in some capacity, and many of them work on site on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and/or Thursdays.

Other data points shared by the Downtown Council during its annual meeting on Wednesday point to positive momentum in downtown's post-pandemic rebound.

An estimated 9.75 million people attended sporting events, concerts, theatrical performances, and other events in downtown Minneapolis throughout 2023. That's almost 100,000 more event goers than in 2019 and a 12.9% year-over-year increase from 2022.

Target Field and U.S. Bank Stadium hosted nine concerts total in 2023. That's the most stadium concerts since 2018.

U.S. Bank Stadium welcomed 2.1 million guests for more than 178 events throughout the year, including two sold-out Taylor Swift concerts in June, but it was Ed Sheeran's show in mid-August that broke its all-time concert attendance record.

Roughly 2 million baseball fans attended Minnesota Twins games at Target Field in 2023, a 9.6% increase over 2022.

Minneapolis Downtown Council's annual year in review report for 2023

Despite an almost 6% increase in room supply throughout the city, hotel occupancy in downtown Minneapolis was at 51.2% capacity in 2023, a 9.6% increase over 2022.

Meet Minneapolis recently announced that the city's hotels, many of which are located downtown, recorded their strongest year since 2019, as demand for hotel rooms increased more than 15% year-over-year in 2023. That translated into nearly two million hotel room night stays, which generated an estimated $10.5 million in lodging taxes for the year, according to Meet Minneapolis.

Events at the Minneapolis Convention Center helped boost hotel occupancy, too. Nearly 713,000 people attended 205 conventions, trade shows and sporting events at the convention center throughout 2023. That's a 48% increase over 2022. Another 40% increase in predicted in 2024.

Minneapolis' fastest-growing neighborhood, downtown has gained more than 7,100 new residents since the beginning of 2020. Almost 1,700 of them were added in 2023, per the Downtown Council report. That's a 2.9% year-over-year increase in 2023, compared to a 1.2% year-over-year increase in 2022.

On the development side, new construction permits totaled $1.5 billion in 2023, much of which was driven by projects in the North Loop. It marked 12 consecutive years of more than $1 billion in new construction permits.

Across the five neighborhoods comprising downtown Minneapolis, a solid number of small businesses opened and fewer closed compared to recent years, bringing its count from more than 400 restaurants and shops in 2022 to more than 450 restaurants and shops in 2023.