Minnesota's golf courses, hotel and restaurant owners led the way as the state added 13,200 jobs during June -- a healthy increase considering that the national economy added just 18,000 jobs last month.
On their first day back at work after a three-week shutdown, officials at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development on Thursday also reported that the state's unemployment rate edged up 0.1 percentage point to 6.7 percent. That compares with the national jobless rate of 9.2 percent for June, which was up 0.1 percentage point from May. As more discouraged workers resume their job hunts, the unemployment rate rises.
State officials weren't available Thursday to comment in depth about the June report. The entire Labor Market Information Office that normally issues monthly jobs reports was laid off during the shutdown and remained unavailable Thursday. June's data was gathered with the help of the Chicago office of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But in a statement, Commissioner Mark Phillips called the jobs gain "very good news,'' adding that "while Minnesota continues to show steady improvement, it will take continued long-term, sustained job growth to impact the unemployment rate."
Also Thursday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that initial unemployment claims rose nationally by 10,000 to 418,000 on a seasonally adjusted basis for the week ending July 16. The four-week average fell by just 2,750 to 421,250.
"It's just disheartening," said Jeanne Boeh, chairwoman of the Augsburg College Economics Department. "The problem nationally is that we can't seem to get below the 400,000 [initial jobless claims] that are needed to be considered a good job market. The number of layoffs keeps increasing. That is really depressing."
The good news is that Minnesota is faring much better, she said, and the impact of the state shutdown should be temporary.
Still, Minnesota's July unemployment is expected to rise as a result of the 22,000 state workers and nearly 2,000 contractors who were laid off during the three-week government shutdown.
For June, Minnesota's largest job gains were in the leisure and hospitality sector, which added 8,000 jobs.
Trade, transportation and utilities added 5,000 jobs, mostly thanks to retailers.
Meanwhile, the construction sector shed 2,200 jobs in June despite warm weather and the usual rush of highway and bridge repairs. The lackluster housing industry continues to keep construction jobs scarce.
Dee DePass • 612-673-7725