MN Jobless Rate Drops to 6.9% Despite 7,400 Jobs Cut

The state shed about 7,400 jobs in September, but Minnesota employers have added 27,700 jobs in the past year, and the unemployment rate dropped 0.3 percent.

Minnesota's unemployment rate dropped slightly from 7.2 percent in August to a seasonally adjusted 6.9 percent in September, according to data released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

Minnesota's unemployment rate remains well below the national average, which was 9.1 percent in September-but it wasn't all positive news for the state.

Statewide, employers actually cut 7,400 jobs during the month. But employers have added 27,700 jobs in the past year, representing a 1 percent growth rate, DEED said.

The trade, transportation, and utilities sector saw the largest losses during the month, declining 4,800 jobs. The other sectors that lost jobs included leisure and hospitality (down 3,800), manufacturing (down 3,700), education and health services (down 2,300), construction (down 1,900), and professional and business services (down 900).

In a news release, DEED Commissioner Mark Phillips focused on the state's added jobs: “Minnesota is slowly pulling out of the recession, gaining 53,600 jobs over the past two years. Declining requests for new unemployment insurance claims, strength in the temp help sector, and other positive data are hopeful signs that the recovery will continue.”

The government sector gained the most jobs in September, with 7,000, mostly pertaining to education hiring. Other industries that added jobs were other services (up 1,600), financial services (up 1,300), and mining and logging (up 100). The information sector remained steady during the month.

A new method for calculating unemployment removes some job volatility and “smoothes out” the employment rate over time, lessening the impact of major events like July's state shutdown, which temporarily put 22,000 state employees out of work. September's 6.9 percent unemployment rate was close to June's seasonally adjusted rate of 6.8 percent, which preceded the July shutdown.