DEED: December posts strong job gains

Minnesota employers added 11,900 jobs in December, according to seasonally adjusted figures released from the Department of Employment and Economic Development.


Minnesota employers added 11,900 jobs in December, according to seasonally adjusted figures released from the Department of Employment and Economic Development.

In addition to those gains, November's figures were revised from 5,000 jobs gained to 12,700 jobs gained. Minnesota added 37,102 jobs over the past year, an increase of 1.3 percent. U.S. job growth in 2016 was 1.4 percent.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in December climbed 0.1 percent to 3.9 percent. The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in December.

"The Minnesota labor market had a strong finish to the year, adding 24,600 jobs in the final two months," said DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy in a news release. "Construction, in particular, had a noteworthy year, adding more than 7,400 jobs and growing 6.9 percent, well ahead of the national pace."

The highest unemployment rate in the state for cities with populations of 10,000 or more were 6.6 percent in Hibbing. Brainerd was second at 6 percent. Bemidji's unemployment rate was 4.1 percent.


Most of the large cities in the state had jobless rates in December between 2-4 percent.

The Brainerd micropolitan, which covers Crow Wing and Cass counties, is one of 15 micropolitans in the state. In December, it had the highest jobless rate at 7.1 percent. The next closest was Bemidji at 5.5 percent. The others ranged from 3.2 percent to 4.8 percent.

Job growth

Government gained 3,700 jobs in December, followed by construction (up 3,500), education and health services (up 2,800), professional and business services (up 2,200), trade, transportation and utilities (up 900), financial activities (up 700) and manufacturing (up 400). Logging and mining held steady.

Construction, in particular, had a noteworthy year. It was the fastest-growing sector in 2016-adding more than 7,400 jobs-and growing 6.9 percent, more than four times the pace nationally. Government, education & health care, and professional & business services were also strong sectors.

Wage gains in Minnesota continue to be very strong; private-sector average wages up 5.7 percent over the year. This is about double the comparable national increase of 2.9 percent.

Sectors losing jobs

Sectors losing jobs in December were leisure and hospitality (down 1,800), other services (down 400) and information (down 100).


Education and health services led all sectors over the past year with 18,595 new jobs. Other industries gaining jobs in 2016 were trade, transportation and utilities (up 8,963), professional and business services (up 8,313), construction (up 7,414), financial activities (up 2,620) and government (up 977).

The following industries lost jobs in the past year: leisure and hospitality (down 5,934), manufacturing (down 1,934), information (down 1,138), other services (down 437) and logging and mining (down 337).

In the Metropolitan Statistical Areas, the following regions gained jobs in the past 12 months: Minneapolis-St. Paul MSA (up 1.4 percent), Rochester MSA (up 2.6 percent), St. Cloud MSA (up 2.3 percent), Mankato MSA (up 0.1 percent) and Duluth-Superior MSA (up 0.2 percent).

In addition to wage rates, DEED reported here are December leading indicators:

• Workweek - The average workweek of private-sector employees fell three-tenths an hour to 33.9 hours.

• Unemployment income benefits-Initial claims for unemployment benefits inched up by 128 to 19,055.

Jobless by the numbers

Location, jobless percent from December 2016, labor force, unemployed


Brainerd, 6 percent, 6,000, 359

Brainerd Micropolitan, 7.1 percent, 44,127, 3,151

Aitkin County, 7.6 percent, 6,767, 517

Cass County, 8.6 percent, 13,462, 1,161

Crow Wing County, 6.5 percent, 30,665, 1,990

Mille Lacs County, 7.1 percent, 12,870, 918

Morrison County, 7.2 percent, 17,754, 1,280

Todd County, 5.6 percent, 12,952, 731


Wadena County, 6.4 percent, 6,279, 403

*Minnesota, 3.9 percent, 2,986,041, 115,238

*U.S. 4.7 percent, 4.7 percent, 159,640,000, 7,529,000

*Seasonally adjusted

Source: Department of Employment and Economic Development.

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