Minnesota employers added 9,000 jobs in February, according to seasonally adjusted Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced today. State unemployment held steady for a fourth straight month at 3.7 percent.
“Minnesota’s surging labor force grew by another 18,700 workers last month, raising the labor force participation rate to 70.9 percent,” said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben. “Minnesota continues to outpace the nation in employment rate, labor force participation and growth in major sectors including construction, finance and health care.”
Demand is especially strong in the metropolitan area of Minnesota, although job growth appears strong across the U.S.
Counting last month’s growth rate, Minnesota now has 42,137 new jobs over the previous twelve months. The state is increasing by 1.5 percent compared to U.S. growth in jobs of 1.9 percent.
Education and health services accounts for nearly half the annual growth in Minnesota with an increase of 19,039 positions. the most jobs over the past year, adding. Additional jobs can be found in trade, transportation and utilities adding 6,376. Construction grew by 5,847 jobs. Leisure and hospitality contributed 5,236 jobs to the growth picture. Financial activities are up by 3,800 jobs. Other services were positive by 2,588 jobs. Professional and business services, the early leader out of the recession was up only by 1,323 jobs for the year. Government added 624.
Minnesota’s unemployment rate of 3.7 percent in February is a seasonally adjusted number. It held steady at that level for the fourth consecutive month. The U.S. unemployment rate in February was 4.9 percent.
Demand for labor in Minnesota appears to be increasing as DEED reported last week that Minnesota employers had more than 96,000 job vacancies in the fourth quarter of 2015. Job opening growth is 8.1 percent greater than the same time a year ago. This is an all-time high in fourth quarter growth since the agency began following these statistics in 2001. The all-time for any quarter is 115,072 reported for the second quarter of 2001.
The demand for labor by region is stronger in the Twin Cities where there are only 0.8 unemployed people per job vacancy. Greater Minnesota has 1.2 unemployed persons for every reported job vacancy. DEED reports 56,071 vacancies in the Twin City metropolitan area and 40,042 in Greater Minnesota.
Demand for labor in the U.S. “remains at historically high levels,” according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in a report issued last week. Job openings rose 260,000 in January for a total of 5.5 million. The job openings rate was 3.7 percent.
The 18,700 surge in workers last month was buttressed by strong growth in education and health services by 4,900 new jobs. Also up were trade, transportation and utilities adding 3,600 jobs. Construction is showing a strong seasonally adjusted growth of 3,200. Financial activities increased by 1,400 and information had a net gain of 300.
DEED reported job losses in several sectors in February. Business and professional services dropped by 1,600. Leisure and hospitality eased down by 1,000. Government jobs were down 1,000. Other services are 500 off the previous month. Manufacturing shed 200 jobs. Logging and mining continued its downward path by 100 jobs.
As was reported earlier, education and health services led all other sectors with a gain of 19,039 positions. Far behind were trade, transportation and utilities, construction, leisure and hospitality, financial activities, other services, professional and business services, and government.
The logging and mining sector lost more jobs than any other over the past 12 months with a net reduction of 1,379 jobs. Information sector continued its historic downward trend since the dot.com bust. It lost another 907 jobs. Manufacturing dropped by 410.
In the Metropolitan Statistical Areas, the following regions gained jobs in the past 12 months: Minneapolis-St. Paul MSA (up 1.8 percent), Rochester MSA (up 2.4 percent), St. Cloud MSA (up 2.5 percent) and Mankato MSA (up 1.4 percent). The Duluth-Superior MSA was down 2 percent.
DEED develops the state economy by promoting business recruitment, business expansion, business retention and international trade. It provides the single largest job data base and workforce development resources in Minnesota.