Minnesota's unemployment rate fell to a seasonally adjusted 5.2 percent in June, reaching its lowest point since May 2008, even though job gains were modest, the state’s labor market information office reported Thursday.
The state added 400 jobs on the month, while May's job gains were revised upward to 10,300. Minnesota’s unemployment rate continues to look excellent compared to the U.S. rate, which was unchanged in June at 7.6 percent.
"Certainly a slight gain of only 400 jobs was disappointing," said Steve Hine, labor market economist for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. "But the data do continue to suggest that conditions are ripe for continued improvement in the coming months."
But several leading indicators in June were strong, Hine said. The average work week jumped almost a full hour, which translates into the equivalent of 63,000 new jobs.
“That’s quite a significant improvement,” Hine said.
Online job postings are up, job openings have stabilized, claims for unemployment fell to its lowest level since March 2008, and temporary employment set an all-time record at 68,200 jobs.
Overall, a solid gain of 2,500 jobs in Minnesota's private sector were offset by a 2,100 decline in government employment, driven by the typical decline in summer employment at state universities.
The state's labor force participation rate, the number of people who could work who are either working or looking for a job, fell slightly in June, which helps explain why the jobless rate fell despite the slim gains. (People who aren't looking for a job don't count as unemployed.)
“The decline in the unemployment rate was primarily a result of a drop in the labor force participation rate,” Hine said.
Manufacturing jobs have now declined 1,400 in the past 12 months, the state reported.
Professional and business services -- which includes everything from temp office jobs to computer programming and accounting -- added 3,600 jobs in June to lead all sectors. Other gains occurred in trade, transportation and utilities (up 1,900), leisure and hospitality (up 1,400), logging and mining (up 200), and education and health services (up 100).
Job losses occurred in June in government (down 2,100), financial activities (down 1,200), construction (down 1,000), manufacturing (down 1,000), information (down 900) and other services (down 600).
Over the past year, professional and business services added 16,500 jobs. Other gains occurred during that period in leisure and hospitality (up 11,600), education and health services (up 11,000), trade, transportation and utilities (up 10,000), government (up 5,100), construction (up 2,100), logging and mining (up 300), financial activities (up 300) and information (up 100).
In the state Metropolitan Statistical Areas, job growth occurred in the past 12 months in the Minneapolis
-St. Paul MSA (up 2.9 percent), St. Cloud MSA (up 2.2 percent), Mankato MSA (up 0.8 percent), Rochester MSA (up 0.6 percent) and Duluth-Superior MSA (up 0.4 percent).