MN Loses Jobs, But Dec. Jobless Rate Falls 0.1%

Although 22,400 jobs were lost in December, Minnesota's unemployment rate fell 0.1 percent to 7 percent-well below the national rate of 9.4 percent.

Minnesota's unemployment rate dropped 0.1 percent in December to a seasonally adjusted 7 percent despite the loss of 22,400 jobs during the month, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) said Thursday.

The December losses reduced the state's net 2010 job gains to 29,300, or a growth rate of 1.1 percent. National job growth over the past year was 0.8 percent. Despite the monthly job losses, Minnesota's unemployment rate stands well below the national rate of 9.4 percent.

“While the labor market remains unpredictable, we are seeing other signs of steady improvement,” Paul A. Moe, acting commissioner at DEED, said in a statement. “The state has recovered about 20 percent of the jobs that were lost in the recession.”

Mining and logging was the only industrial sector to gain jobs in December, adding 200 positions.

During December, job losses occurred in the government (down 5,300); trade, transportation, and utilities (down 4,200); professional and business services (down 3,500); education and health services (down 3,000); leisure and hospitality (down 1,800); manufacturing (down 1,800); construction (down 1,700); financial activities (down 800); other services (down 300); and information (down 200) sectors.

Four of Minnesota's five metro areas reported job increases in 2010-Rochester (up 1.3 percent), Duluth-Superior (up 1 percent), Minneapolis-St. Paul (up 1.2 percent), and Mankato (up 1 percent). The number of jobs in the St. Cloud area declined 0.4 percent.