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Hiring in most industries was flat through September and October, but one notable decline was in professional and business services, which shed 7,300 jobs over the two months (mostly in September).
The weakness was noticeable in temporary hiring, which sends mixed signals. An increase in temp jobs, while seen as less than a victory for workers who would prefer permanent ones, is also considered a positive leading indicator for the broader economy. One theory is that some of the temporary workers in the state moved into permanent jobs in manufacturing.
“I don’t think that there was a big surge in people going from temp jobs to permanent jobs with maybe the possible exception of manufacturing, and we’ll just have to see,” Stinson said.
It’s also difficult to pinpoint any impact on jobs in Minnesota from the government shutdown and debt ceiling debate, perhaps because businesses are desensitized to the wrangling in Washington, Hine said.
“We’ve been going through a sequence of looming government shutdowns that always seem to be resolved at the 11th hour,” he said.
The unemployment rate was down 0.2 percent from September’s jobless rate of 5 percent, which was not calculated earlier because data were unavailable due to the federal government shutdown in October. The U.S. unemployment rate was 7.2 percent in September and 7.3 percent in October.
The low unemployment rate is good, Stinson said, but still too high considering how long it has been since the recession ended.
“It’s noticeably better than the U.S. average,” Stinson said. “But I’m not going to be doing cartwheels for a 4.8 percent unemployment rate.”
Adam Belz • 612-673-4405 Twitter: @adambelz