Another 2,900 people last month joined the 2.99 million Minnesotans who work in the state.

The increase — small for the often-volatile monthly state jobs data — underscored a slowdown in hiring that became visible at the start of the year. Employers in the transportation and utilities sector as well as manufacturing led the hiring in March.

In reporting the new data Thursday, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) also revised the February job count, narrowing its preliminary view that 1,300 jobs were lost to just 200 jobs lost.

In both months, the state's unemployment rate held steady at 3.2 percent, well below the 4.1 percent rate of the U.S. as a whole.

In Minnesota, black unemployment was 7 percent in March, up from the all-time low of 6.9 percent in February. Latino unemployment was 3.1 percent, down from 3.3 percent in February. White unemployment held steady at 2.8 percent.

In her statement on the data, DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy noted how manufacturing has stood out as a gainer this year, adding 3,100 jobs in the last two months. "The sector is growing at a healthy pace during a period when employers in manufacturing and most other industries are competing in a tight labor market," Hardy said.

A longer-term measure of the state's employment scene shows that growth has slowed sharply in recent months. In the 12 months of 2017, Minnesota employers added 44,200 jobs, an increase of 1.5 percent over 2016 and in line with job growth nationally.

But 12-month readings over the last three months have showed much slower growth. In the 12 months ended March 31, the state added 21,250 jobs, a gain of just 0.7 percent that was well below the national jobs growth of 1.7 percent. In February, the 12-month reading for Minnesota showed a 0.8 percent increase and in January it was 0.7 percent.

The slower growth is yet another sign that the state is at or very near full employment. Three weeks ago, DEED reported that job vacancies at the end of 2017 grew 16 percent and continued to outnumber unemployed Minnesotans.

"Increasingly, we are seeing a slowing in our rate of job growth while labor market conditions remain tight, a clear sign that the worker shortage is really beginning to constrain our ability to grow," the agency's written analysis of the March data said. "As we have not yet seen the most extreme of these tight conditions, we should expect slower job growth even as unemployment remains low in the months ahead."

April marks the 106th month of the current economic expansion, making it the second-longest on record after the 120-month expansion of the 1990s.