MN Adds 4,300 Jobs In July, Jobless Rate Unchanged

While Minnesota’s unemployment rate remained unchanged, the state added 4,000 government jobs, an increase that a state official said may have been driven by increased funding.

MN Adds 4,300 Jobs In July, Jobless Rate Unchanged
Minnesota employers added 4,300 jobs in July, while the unemployment rate held steady at 5.2 percent, according to data released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).
DEED previously said that the state added 400 jobs in June but revised those numbers to a loss of 1,000 jobs, making July’s positive growth an even larger leap. The state’s unemployment rate remains well below the national rate of 7.4 percent.
Job gains for July occurred primarily in government, which saw an increase of 4,000 jobs—up from a decrease of 2,100 in June. Of those government job gains, 3,800 were in the local sector—such as public education.
“This large increase may be partly due to the unusual timing of hiring—July is not normally when we see a lot of jobs added, usually public schools make their hires later in August or September,” Oriane Casale, assistant director of labor market information at DEED, said during a conference call. “It may also be partly due to the boost in funding the state legislature provided recently.”
Behind government, financial activities—which include real estate, insurance, and banking—added the most jobs last month at 2,300, followed by leisure and hospitality (1,400), “other services” (1,300), information (1,100), and professional and business services (100).
Industries that shed jobs in July included education and health care (2,600), construction (1,700), manufacturing (1,400), and trade, transportation, and utilities (down 200).
While education and health care are grouped together, the majority of the losses were in the private education portion, which was down 6.2 percent over the year, while health care and social assistance actually saw gains, according to Casale.
In other labor market indicators, the average workweek fell back a bit in July to 33.5 hours, down from 34.3 hours in June.
The labor force participation rate dropped in July to 70.5 percent, the lowest since 1982. “We’re not sure what share of this is due to retirements versus people dropping out of the labor force, but we guess that retirements account for the majority of this decline,” Casale said.
The state has gained 71,500 jobs over the past year at a rate of 2.6 percent, outpacing the U.S. growth rate of 1.7 percent.
“On an annual basis, the Minnesota labor market is recovering at a pace we haven’t seen since the expansion of the 1990s,” DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben said in a statement. “We’re edging closer to pre-recessionary employment levels, needing to add just 5,500 jobs to regain all the jobs that were lost in the recession.”
Ten of the state’s 11 major industrial sectors have gained jobs in the past year, led by professional and business services (16,200). Other gains have occurred in government (15,700—10,070 of which were in local education); trade, transportation, and utilities (13,000); leisure and hospitality (12,200); education and health services (9,900); construction (2,600); financial activities (2,400); information (1,300); logging and mining (500); and other services (400). According to DEED, that represents an all-time high for professional and business services.
The only sector to lose jobs over the past year is manufacturing (down 2,500).
“Manufacturing continues to be the glaring weak spot in terms of growth over the past year,” said Casale. “On the positive side, wood products; fabricated metal products; and electromedical, medical equipment, and supplies are three areas that have added jobs over the year.”
Geographically, the largest metropolitan growth over the year was seen in the Twin Cities, where jobs grew 3.7 percent, followed by St. Cloud (3 percent), Mankato (1.7 percent), Rochester (0.5 percent), and Duluth-Superior (0.5 percent).
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