MN Unemployment Rate Improves to 3.8 Percent in March
The percentage of unemployed workers in Minnesota dipped to 3.8 percent in March, the lowest the rate’s been since April of last year.
A bump in hiring in the professional and business services sector — which grew its headcount by 4,900 in March — lifted Minnesota to an overall gain of 5,300 jobs. Since last August, the state’s unemployment rate had steadied at 4 percent with slight jobs gains and losses each month.
The 0.2 percent drop was, in part, attributed to revised numbers for February. (Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development previously reported a 3,800-job gain when the total was actually 6,200.)
Additionally, a 2,500-job jump in the leisure and hospitality sector during March offset a 2,500-job drop in the trade, transportation and utilities sector. Other industries that lost jobs last month were education and health care (down 1,400) and construction (down 900).
The job gains helped boost the number of private sector workers in the state above 2.5 million, according to DEED commissioner Shawntera Hardy.
“Surpassing 2.5 million private sector jobs is a wonderful achievement and is a fitting testament to businesses large and small all across the state,” she said.
The Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area continued to boast the strongest increase in employment in the state. Employment totals in the area were up 2.1 percent year-over-year, followed by the St. Cloud area, which had increased 1 percent. In that same period of time, the Duluth-Superior area increased overall employment by 0.8 percent, followed by Rochester (up 0.5 percent). The Mankato area was the only region of Minnesota to experience job losses, as the employment total shrank by 0.3 percent.
Compared to the nation, Minnesota outpaced the average unemployment rate of 4.5 percent in March. In the last several decades, the national rate has always been higher than the state’s rate — aside from in 2008 when the rates were equal.
“Thanks to the hardworking Minnesotans and businesses who call our state home,” Governor Mark Dayton in a statement, “our economy continues to improve and outpace the nation.”