MN Adds 6.8K Jobs in July, But Jobless Rate Inches Up

MN Adds 6.8K Jobs in July, But Jobless Rate Inches Up

July marked the second consecutive month of job gains, although Minnesota’s unemployment rate rose slightly.

Minnesota’s employers added an estimated 6,800 jobs in July, but the state’s unemployment rate climbed 0.2 percent to 5.8 percent, according to data released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

July marked the second consecutive month of job gains; the state added 4,200 jobs in June. (That number was revised downward from the previously reported 7,200 jobs gained.)

According to DEED, the state has added roughly 11,000 jobs during the past two months—compared with a net gain of only 200 jobs between February and May. In fact, the jobs added in June ended a three-month streak of losses that included 4,700 jobs lost in May.

“The state has added more than 30,000 private sector jobs in the past year,” DEED Commissioner Mark Phillips said in a statement. “That growth, along with increasing job vacancies and record-high job postings online, continue to point to sustained demand for labor in Minnesota.”

The state’s monthly report, however, was “a mixed bag,” because Minnesota’s jobless rate climbed 0.2 percent after holding relatively steady for the past few months, DEED regional analyst Kyle Uphoff said during a Thursday conference call.

DEED officials have attributed the seemingly disparate indicators of simultaneous job growth and an increasing unemployment rate, at least in part, to the fact that the numbers come from different sources. The job gain data is based on a monthly survey of roughly 3,000 Minnesota employers, while the unemployment rate is calculated based on a sample of about 1,700 households.

“These are two different types of surveys—one surveys employers and the other, households, so this is not by any means a perfect accounting system,” Uphoff said.

In July, the state also experienced a slight decline in its labor force participation rate—which dropped 0.1 percent to 70.9 percent. Labor force participation refers to the portion of working-age people who are either employed or actively seeking work.

Despite the small increase in Minnesota’s unemployment rate, it remains well below the national average of 8.3 percent. Minnesota’s year-over-year job growth, meanwhile, lags that of the nation, Uphoff said.

In July, Minnesota added 3,100 government jobs, representing the most of any sector. Uphoff said that the majority of that growth came through local government positions, although he was unable to name the specific occupations that contributed to the growth.

Other jobs were added in trade, transportation, and utilities (2,100); professional and business services (1,800); manufacturing (1,700); education and health services (1,300); financial activities (800); and logging and mining (100).

Other sectors, meanwhile, shed jobs during the month: leisure and hospitality (3,200), construction (600), other services (200), and information (100).

Year-over-year, the state has added jobs in professional and business services (17,400), education and health services (10,500), manufacturing (4,900), construction (3,900), financial activities (2,400), information (900), other services (400), and logging and mining (200).

DEED reported that the government sector has added 26,900 jobs during the past year—although that number is misleading because 21,000 government employees were temporarily laid off and then rehired following the government shutdown last July.

Two sectors, meanwhile, have experienced year-over-year job losses. The leisure and hospitality sector has lost 9,300 jobs during the past year; Uphoff attributed the decline to a continued lack of consumer confidence. The trade, transportation, and utilities sector also remains down 1,200 jobs.