Jobs declined in March, and the unemployment rate is in a five-month stall, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) reported today. The decline was a 2,900 job-cut by Minnesota employers. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is stuck at 3.7 percent for a fifth month in a row. Nevertheless, state officials remain optimistic.
“While job losses and gains vary from month to month, the long-term trend points to steady and consistent growth in the state labor market,” commented Katie Clark Sieben, DEED’s Commissioner. “Minnesota has added more than 200,000 jobs in the past five years.”
DEED heralded a 9,000 growth in jobs last month. That recent robust growth held real as it was revised downward only 300 jobs.
Minnesota is also fairing better than the U.S. unemployment rate of five percent in the same month. The U.S. is catching up with a job growth rate of 2 percent compared to Minnesota’s growth rate of 1.3 percent. Minnesota added 35,940 jobs in the last twelve months.
Recent growth was strongest in the professional and business services sector with 1,500 new jobs in March. Manufacturing added 1,000. Trade, transportation and utilities grew by 700. The financial activities sector is up by 400 and logging and mining added 300 jobs.
The biggest job losses this March were education and health services losing 1,700, construction losing 1,600, leisure and hospitality losing 1,400, other services losing 1,000, government losing 800 and information losing 300.
Education and health services dwarfed all other sectors with 16,801 new jobs over the previous twelve months. Employers in the construction sector added 5,276 new jobs. Trade, transportation and utilities employers hired 4,685, leisure and hospitality hired 4,414, financial activities hired 3,959, other services hired 1,717, government hired 1,272, professional and business services hired 272 and manufacturing hired only 57 net new employees for the year.
Big losses for the year occurred in mining and information, down 1,391 and 1,122 respectively. As noted previously, information jobs continue their long-term decline since the dot.com bust at the end of the last century.
Rochester led all Metropolitan Statistical Areas with a 2.1 percent annual gain. St. Cloud MSA followed with a 1.9 percent gain. Minneapolis-St. Paul was not far behind with a growth of 1.8 percent over the past 12 months. Mankato grew by 1.4 percent. Duluth-Superior dropped 1.9 percent.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provides an insight on to the health of Minnesota’s major population areas. This BLS page analyzes metropolitan area unemployment rates, not seasonally adjusted. The page shows February 2016 rates as this article is written. The three growing areas all have low unemployment rates, while Duluth-Superior is lagging the others. Mankato sports a 3.4 percent unemployment rate. Minneapolis-St. Paul and Rochester each have a 3.9 percent unemployment rate. St. Cloud is lagging slightly with a 4.7 percent unemployment rate. Duluth-Superior is falling further behind with a 6.7 percent unemployment rate.
DEED is Minnesota’s main economic development agency that promotes workforce development, business retention, business recruitment and business expansion.