Employment makes solid gains in March
Minnesota employment rebounded with solid growth in March after a slow start to the year that might have been related to the state’s worst winter in three decades.
The Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced Thursday Minnesota added 2,600 jobs in March, while the unemployment rate held steady at a seasonally adjusted 4.8 percent.
The state jobless rate remains well below the U.S. rate of 6.7 percent. And while the country as a whole still hasn’t recovered all the jobs that disappeared in the recession, Minnesota is now 33,000 jobs above what the state lost in the downturn.
Another milestone this month: The state labor force crossed the three million mark for the first time in history.
“This month’s data raises expectations that we were the victims of the Polar Vortex and that we’ll be back on a more robust trajectory as we enter the spring and summer months,” said Steve Hine, who heads DEED’s Labor Market Information Office in a news release.
Construction remains one of the bright spots of the state labor market. The sector has added nearly 9,200 jobs in the past year, posting an impressive 11.1 percent growth rate that dwarfs the national growth rate in that industry of 2.9 percent.
Some other highlights from the report:
■ Manufacturing added jobs for the sixth consecutive month in March. The sector has grown by nearly 6,200 jobs in the past year and is expanding at nearly triple the national pace.
■ The state’s labor force participation rate continues to climb, growing 0.1 percent in March to 70.6 percent.
■ Ten of the state’s 11 major industrial sectors have more jobs than a year ago. The only sector that hasn’t added jobs in the past year is financial activities, which is down about 640 positions.
■ Professional and business services led all sectors last month with 3,500 new jobs. Other sectors that gained jobs were construction (up 2,700), government (up 1,000), information (up 400), manufacturing (up 200) and logging and mining (up 100).
■ Sectors that lost jobs last month were leisure and hospitality (down 2,700), transportation and utilities (down 2,300), education and health services (down 1,000) and other services (down 500).
■ During the past year, education and health services has added 11,515 jobs. Other sectors that have gained jobs in the past year are construction (up 9,163), manufacturing (up 6,192), professional and business services (up 5,521), trade, transportation and utilities (up 5,363), other services (up 2,417), leisure and hospitality (up 1,303), information (up 415), government (up 220) and logging and mining (up 110).