Minnesota Loses 8,800 Jobs in February, Unemployment Rate Jumps to 3.1 Percent

Minnesota Loses 8,800 Jobs in February, Unemployment Rate Jumps to 3.1 Percent

The month’s job losses mark the first over-the-year total employment decline since 2010.

For the third straight month, Minnesota’s unemployment rate increased. The rate, now at 3.1 percent, ticked up one-tenth of a point in February, according to the latest data from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

The state lost 8,800 jobs last month, in part due to unfavorable weather conditions. With nearly 1,400 fewer jobs available now than at the same time a year ago, the change marks the first time since July 2010 that there has been a decline in annual total employment, or over-the-year job growth, in Minnesota.

“The most significant decline this month was in construction, losing 3,800 jobs – not shocking given the brutal February weather we had,” said DEED commissioner Steve Grove. “Along with that, we know that Minnesota faces dwindling labor force growth—we can’t have job gains without people to fill the positions.”

DEED, in a statement Thursday, suggested hiring could rebound as the temperature rises and outdoor conditions improve.

Aside from the construction industry, employment losses in the state were also recorded in the professional and business services sector (down 3,509), manufacturing (down 1,056), trade, transportation and utilities (down 3,472), information (down 2,202), education and health services (down 3,385), and government (down 183).

Both the Rochester and St. Cloud areas have experienced job growth over the last 12 months, increasing by 1.5 percent and 1.3 percent respectively. Meanwhile, jobs growth in the Mankato area remained flat, while the Minneapolis-St. Paul and Duluth-Superior areas saw a decline.