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Minn. has 3 straight months of 'strong job growth'

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota gained 6,200 jobs in February, marking the third straight month of strong job growth in the state, while the unemployment rate went up a tenth of a point to a seasonally adjusted 5.7 percent, according to data released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

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Minnesota has now added 32,300 jobs in the last three months, regaining more than half of the 156,300 jobs lost during the recession.

"The labor market recovery appears to be gaining steam, with three consecutive months of strong job growth," DEED Commissioner Mark Phillips said in a statement. "The state has now recovered 81,400 jobs since the recession."

Most of the new additions came in education and health services, with those sectors seeing 5,100 more jobs. Government added 2,500 jobs and construction added 1,300. Those gains were partially offset by losses in the professional and business services sectors, which saw a decrease of 4,000 jobs.

The U.S. unemployment rate remained unchanged in February, at 8.3 percent.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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