MN Jobless Rate Dips as State Adds 5,900 Jobs

MN Jobless Rate Dips as State Adds 5,900 Jobs

The monthly job gains were driven largely by the education and health services sector, and the state has now recovered nearly 90,000 jobs since hitting a recessionary trough in 2009.

Data that the state released Thursday shows two positive signs for the Minnesota economy: Minnesota’s employers added 5,900 jobs in September, and the unemployment rate dipped 0.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted 5.8 percent.

The Minnesota Department Employment and Economic Development (DEED) also said that it revised its August employment figures: It previously reported 2,000 job losses, but it has revised the number down to 700 jobs lost.

The August revision, coupled with September’s new jobs, brings total job gains in the state over the past year to roughly 34,700, DEED said. The state’s jobless rate remains well below the national rate of 7.8 percent, although its job growth rate of 1.3 percent is slightly below the national growth rate of 1.4 percent.

“Minnesota has recovered nearly 90,000 jobs since hitting the low point of the recession three years ago last month,” Blake Chaffee, DEED’s director of communications, said in a statement. “The labor market has been steadily improving since then, but we still have more work to do.”

The education and health services industry led all sectors with respect to job gains—adding 5,600 new jobs in September. Steve Hine, DEED’s Labor Market Information Office research director, said in a Thursday conference call that the increase “stands as the largest one-month gain we have on record” for the sector. Much of the growth can be attributed to employment at private colleges and in health care, he said.

Other sectors that added jobs during the month included leisure and hospitality (3,300); construction (1,500); financial activities (1,200); other services (1,100); professional and business services (800); trade, transportation, and utilities (200); and logging and mining (200).

Hine pointed to several other positive indicators in September. For example, the state’s labor force participation rate held constant at 70.8 percent, the number of online job postings remains strong, and the average work week increased from 33.7 hours to 34.3 hours, he said.

Not all sectors, however, experienced growth during the month. The following three industries shed jobs: government (3,600), manufacturing (2,500), and information (1,500). Hine pointed out that the loss in government jobs followed a month of significant gains in the sector. He said that many of the losses can be attributed to a shift in pay periods for certain school districts—meaning government-employed educators who typically return to the labor force in September were accounted for in August.

Building on its strong gains in September, the education and health services sector led all other industries for the past year, adding 17,300 jobs. Other year-over-year gains occurred in professional and business services (13,300), construction (4,400), government (2,200), manufacturing (2,100), financial activities (1,300), and information (400).

Meanwhile, the following sectors have lost jobs over the past year: leisure and hospitality (4,900); trade, transportation, and utilities (1,100); other services (300); and logging and mining (down 100).

Although last month’s job gains and unemployment rate figures reflect the same positive job market trend, 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.

And according to Hine, the local employment picture may actually be brighter than the one described in DEED’s monthly reports. He said that the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics plans to make annual revisions to national and state employment data in March, at which point he expects to “see much stronger employment growth over the last year” than has been reported thus far.