MN Job Growth Slips/Unemployment at 3.1%

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ST. PAUL – Minnesota lost 8,800 seasonally adjusted jobs in February and the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 3.1 percent according to figures released by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in February.

Minnesota’s total over-the-year job growth slipped into negative territory in February, with 1,364 fewer jobs than at this time last year. This is the first month of annual job decline since July 2010.

Labor force participation and the employment-to-population ratio were stable during the month at 69.8 percent and 67.7 percent respectively.

“The most significant decline this month was in construction, losing 3,800 jobs – not shocking given the brutal February weather we had,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “Along with that, we know that Minnesota faces dwindling labor force growth – we can’t have job gains without people to fill the positions.”

While down for the month, construction did have the greatest over-the-year growth of 6,246 jobs. Leisure and hospitality were up 3,922 jobs, financial activities was up 2,542 jobs. Finally, logging and mining were up just 44 jobs over the year.

The largest job losses were in professional and business services (down 3,509). Other industries measuring job losses were, manufacturing (down 1,056), trade, transportation and utilities (down 3,472), information (down 2,202), education and health services (down 3,385) and government (down 183).

Two out of the five Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) had unadjusted over-the-year growth. Rochester MSA was up 1.5 percent and St. Cloud MSA was up 1.3 percent. Mankato MSA remained steady while Minneapolis- St. Paul MSA was down 0.5 percent and Duluth-Superior MSA went down 0.8 percent.

Diminished workforce growth has been slowing job growth in Minnesota for the past two years. This report is in line with that trend. Additionally, this report echoes the possible weakening of the economy overall as hinted at by the 20,000 job gain nationally in February.

Looking ahead, a rebound in job growth as outdoor conditions improve would confirm the main reason behind this month’s job losses.

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