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Minnesota employers add 7,300 jobs in June

Matt Johnson//July 22, 2016

Minnesota employers add 7,300 jobs in June

Matt Johnson//July 22, 2016

Minnesota employers created 7,300 jobs in June, but due to some revised data from May, the impact of that increase hit a muted note.

The gain was the third recorded in the first six months of 2016 and kept the state at an unemployment rate of 3.8 percent for the fourth month in a row, according seasonally adjusted employment numbers released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. That compares with a 4.9 percent June unemployment rate for the United States as a whole.

Since January, employers have added a total of 13,700 jobs. The state’s economy in June recorded 2.89 million jobs.

But the gains did not make up for overall job losses in May. Recently revised employment figures show Minnesota lost 8,400 jobs that month, significantly more than the initial estimate of 1,900. According to DEED, the final job loss number had to be revised because several job reports from major employers were not available until after the agency’s May data release.

Eight of the state’s 11 major employment sectors saw increased hiring in June. Leisure and hospitality led the way with 2,600 positions added. Other industries adding to the workforce included education and health services with 2,200 new jobs, government with 1,500 jobs and construction with 1,300.

Steve Hine, research director for DEED’s labor market information office, said during a press conference Thursday that education and health care is the state’s strongest employment sector, adding 23,105 jobs in the past year.

“It has expanded its lead over other components of the economy,” he said.

Industries that lost jobs in June were logging and mining, information and other services and manufacturing. Those sectors combined shed about 4,100 jobs.

The month also saw a first when the number of restaurant and bar workers surpassed the number of people working in durable goods manufacturing. DEED’s Hine said it was the first time since 1990 this has been the case. Jobs in eating and drinking establishments rose 3.2 percent to 202,644 in June, while durable manufacturing jobs nudged up 0.5 percent to 201,929.

A gain of 1,300 workers in the construction market made up for most of a May loss of 1,900 jobs that was a step backward for the industry. The sector has grown by 3.7 percent since June 2015, adding 4,684 positions since Jan. 1. As of the end of June, the construction industry employed 132,235 people.

Building construction, which includes residential and commercial structures, also showed an increase from May, with that subsector of the workforce expanding 7.5 percent. But compared to June 2015, employment was up just 1 percent.

Robert Heise, president of Associated Builders and Contractors of Minnesota and North Dakota, said near-flat, year-over-year hiring numbers stem from a shrinking construction labor pool. Annual employment growth likely would have been 2 percent to 3 percent higher if more job seekers were interested in construction.

“Workforce development is our biggest dilemma,” Heise said. “We can’t attract enough people to the industry.”

According to DEED, Minnesota is still slightly behind the national job growth trend over the past 12 months. The state’s 1.2 percent job growth rate trails the 1.8 percent national rate. The state has added 34,246 jobs to the workforce over the past year.

Most of the state’s metropolitan areas saw job gains. Employment in the Twin Cities rose 1.6 percent in June. St. Cloud was the top gainer at 2.9 percent, followed by Mankato at 2.4 percent and Rochester at 1.8 percent.

Employment in Duluth declined by .2 percent.

The jobs picture
Minnesota year-over-year employment growth by industry sector as of June 2016
Number of Jobs Gained or Lost % change from 2015
Total Non-Farm Employment 34,246 1.2
Logging and Mining -1,475 -19.9
Construction 4,684 3.7
Manufacturing -269 -0.1
Trade, Trans. and Utilities 1,571 0.3
Information -1,225 -2.4
Financial Activities 1,918 1
Prof. and Bus. Services 1,328 0.4
Ed. and Health Services 23,105 4.6
Leisure and Hospitality 4,796 1.7
Other Services -1,174 -1
Government 987 0.2

Source: Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

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