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Minnesota employment tops 2.8 million for first time in state history

Despite one of the coldest Januaries in recent memory, Minnesota employers continued to add jobs during the month.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) released figures this morning that showed the state gained 600 jobs in January — the sixth consecutive month of job growth in Minnesota. Total employment in the state is now more than 2.8 million for the first time in history.

“We now have over 2.8 million jobs in Minnesota, the most jobs ever in the history of our state — nearly 150,000 more jobs than when I first took office just a little over three years ago,” said Gov. Mark Dayton, in a statement. “The credit belongs with Minnesota businesses and employees, who are driving economic growth and creating new jobs in our state. This is good news and the work we are doing is paying off, but we are not satisfied yet.”

To make further progress, Dayton said he urged the Legislature to pass and send an income tax reduction bill by Wednesday.

“Meeting this deadline will help ensure thousands of Minnesotans receive tax relief this year,” Dayton said.

The state has added 52,200 jobs in the past year, led by education and health services (up 11,400), trade, transportation and utilities (up 10,200) and construction (up 9,600). All 11 of the state’s industrial sectors have gained jobs since January 2013.

The unemployment rate was unchanged in January from the seasonally adjusted revised rate of 4.7 percent in December. That compares favorably with a U.S. unemployment rate of 6.6 percent in January.

Among other highlights of the report:

■ 1. Benchmarking – the annual revision of federal employment figures, based on more accurate data showed Minnesota gained 12,661 more jobs than originally reported during the previous 21 months.

■ Construction, in particular, had major adjustments upward because of benchmarking. The industry is now the state’s fastest-growing sector, expanding by 11.9 percent in the past year, compared with 3.4 percent nationally. The state has added 9,600 construction jobs since January 2013.

■ Minnesota has regained 190,400 jobs since the low point of the recession and is now 31,400 jobs above the state’s pre-recessionary peak. The country as a whole, however, remains 866,000 jobs shy of its previous peak.

■ The strongest job growth in January occurred in leisure and hospitality (up 3,000), manufacturing (up 2,000), and education and health care (up 1,200).

■ Statewide employment in manufacturing has grown to a seasonally adjusted 313,100 — its highest level in five years.

“Even with January’s extremely cold weather, hardworking Minnesotans continued to generate jobs,” said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben in a news release. “We’re particularly encouraged by the breadth of the labor market recovery, with all 11 of the state’s industrial sectors gaining jobs in the past year.”

Leisure and hospitality led all sectors in January with 3,000 new jobs. Other job gains occurred in manufacturing (up 2,000), education and health care (up 1,200), professional and business services (up 900) and other services (up 200). Logging and mining held steady.

Job losses occurred in trade, transportation and utilities (down 3,200), financial activities (down 1,200), information (down 1,100), construction (down 900) and government (down 300).

During the past year, education and health services led all sectors with 11,448 new jobs. Other job growth occurred in trade, transportation and utilities (up 10,245), construction (up 9,562), professional and business services (up 6,337), manufacturing (up 4,809), leisure and hospitality (up 3,597), other services (up 2,874), government (up 1,600), information (up 1,434), financial activities (up 201), and logging and mining (up 53).

In the state Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA), job gains occurred in the past 12 months in the Mankato MSA (up 2.6 percent), St. Cloud MSA (up 1.7 percent), Minneapolis-St. Paul MSA (up 1.5 percent) and Duluth-Superior MSA (up 0.9 percent). Job losses occurred in the Rochester MSA (down 0.3 percent).

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
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