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Minnesota adds 3,600 jobs in April

Minnesota gained 3,600 seasonally adjusted jobs in April, according to figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

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Construction jobs have largest annual gain in latest unemployment numbers from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. Photo illustration / Metro Newspaper Service
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Minnesota gained 3,600 seasonally adjusted jobs in April, according to figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Minnesota annual job gains were up 14,434 or 0.5% since last April, however, the first four months of 2019 have only netted 700 additional jobs.

The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 3.3%, an increase of one tenth of a percent from last month. In so doing, the number of unemployed Minnesotan's topped 100,000 for the first time since August 2017. The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.6%.

Over the year, construction had the largest annual gains with an increase of 11,511 jobs since last April. This rate of growth has only been achieved twice before with the most recent being April 2015.

"Many industries in Minnesota have seasonal employment-construction being one of the most prominent," said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove, in a news release. "Despite our state's tight labor market, the addition of 3,600 jobs this month is a sign that Minnesota employers are eager to ramp up for a busy spring and summer."

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Six of eleven major industry sectors gained jobs over the month in April. Manufacturing led the gains (up 1,600) followed by trade, transportation and utilities (up 1,500), education and health care (up 1,100), government (up 700), professional services and business services (up 500) and other services (up 400). Leisure and hospitality had the largest losses over the month (down 1,700) followed by financial activities (down 300), construction (down 100) and information (down 100).

All five Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) experienced over-the-year growth in April. St. Cloud MSA had the largest growth of 2.1% growth followed by Rochester MSA with 1.6%, Mankato MSA with 0.9%, Minneapolis-St. Paul with 0.3% and Duluth-Superior with 0.1%.

Local unemployment rates for March

Brainerd had an unemployment rate of 6.6% in March. A year ago, the jobless rate for March was 6.2%. In March, the numbers meant 409 people-out of the labor force of 6,219-were without jobs.

Brainerd's jobless rate is taken from the 56401 ZIP code. And it's always been set off by not including Baxter, which in another area not separated by a state border may have been considered a single city.

After a summer and fall with the jobless rate in the 3%-4% range in 2018, Brainerd's jobless rate rose to 5.3% in December and in early 2019 rose to 7.1% in January before falling again to 6.5% in February. The jobless rate-once in perennial double digits from the fall of 2008 to the spring of 2014-has not had an unemployment percentage higher than 8% since the start of 2015. And in the last five years, the rate has often been substantially lower with 2018 where seven months were less than 4%.

So how does that compare to the rest of the state's large cities with populations of 10,000 or more?

Brainerd, along with Grand Rapids at 6%, Virginia at 5.6%, Hibbing at 5.5%, Cloquet at 5.4% and Waseca at 5% were at the highest jobless rate in the state's large cities. Many were in the 3-4% range in March with metro suburbs event lower with Edina at 2.8% and Eden Prairie at 2.7%, Minneapolis at 3.1%

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Other smaller cities included Owatonna at 3.7%, Fergus Falls at 4.8%. It's hard to find an apples to apples comparison with a city with the same seasonal economy, similar population and workforce and education system. Bemidji has a workforce of 7,987, a four-year college, and a March jobless rate of 4.6%.

Looking at the Brainerd micropolitan, encompassing Cass and Crow Wing counties, provides a wider view. The state lists 17 micropolitan areas.

Micropolitan March jobless rates were:

Micropolitan, labor force, unemployment rate, unemployed

• Albert Lea, 16,085, 4.6%, 739

• Alexandria, 20,559, 4.5%, 920

• Austin, 20,531, 3.8%, 787

• Bemidji, 24,563, 5.5%, 1,355

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• Brainerd, 46,018, 6.7%, 3,105

• Fairmont, 10,165, 4.4%, 443

• Fairbault-Northfield, 37,325, 4%, 1,496

• Fergus Falls, 31,264, 5.9%, 1,844

• Grand Rapids, 22,166, 7.3%, 1,618

• Hutchinson, 19,484, 5%, 974

• Marshall, 14,755, 4.2%, 623

• New Ulm, 14,565, 5.2%, 760

• Owatonna, 20,249, 4.2%, 848

• Red Wing, 27,028, 4.1%, 1,095

• Willmar, 25,042, 4.9%, 1,226

• Winona, 28,935, 3.5%, 1,012

• Worthington, 11,263, 3.7%, 421

7 county area

Unemployment rates for March.

County, labor force, unemployment rate

• Aitkin, 7,291, 9.1%

• Cass, 13,979. 8.1%

• Crow Wing, 32,039, 6.1%

• Mille Lacs, 13,188, 8.4%

• Morrison, 17,853, 7.8%

• Todd, 13,967, 6.4%

• Wadena, 6,118, 8.9%

Source: Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

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