Minnesota’s job engine lost a bit of its throttle the past two months, though data released Thursday showed it continued to go faster than the nation’s.
The state economic agency reported that Minnesota lost 6,600 jobs in August and that the gain it initially reported last month for July of 7,700 jobs had been revised sharply lower to an increase of 2,600.
The state’s unemployment rate also ticked higher in August by 0.1 point to 3.8 percent, adjusted for seasonal variations in employment.
Despite the monthly job drop, and a downward revision to the July jobs total, the state’s year over year job growth continues to edge the nation’s. Minnesota added 49,695 jobs in the 12 months ended August, a growth rate of 1.7 percent. The nation’s growth was 1.5 percent for the period.
“The state’s labor market remains fundamentally strong, outpacing the country in over-the-year job growth for the fourth consecutive month in August,” Shawntera Hardy, chief of the Department of Employment and Economic Development, said in a statement.
But the size of the outpacing was smaller than in July, when the agency in its preliminary estimate said the state’s job growth over the previous 12 months was 2.3 percent.
The state’s monthly jobs data is notoriously volatile and subject to revision, in part because it is being generated from a relatively small base of 3 million. Viewed over several months, the data gives a more reliable picture of overall momentum in the Minnesota economy. After 2016 ended on a strong note, that momentum turned slower at the start of 2017, then gained strength in the late spring and summer until this latest data revealed another apparent slowing.
In one other sign of the change, the economic agency’s new data showed that nine out of 11 sectors gained jobs over the previous 12 months while, in July, 10 out of 11 did. The information segment joined the financial activities sector in the negative category in August.
In August, leisure and hospitality led the declines with a drop of 6,400 jobs from July, while education and health services were off 5,300. Trade transportation and utilities paced gains, up 3,200 from July.
As they have for some time, the state’s education and health services employers led the state’s job growth in the latest 12-month period, adding 17,280 jobs, or more than one-third of the overall total. Construction was next, with 7,247 jobs added.
The state’s metro areas were paced by a 2.3 percent year-over-year increase in Twin Cities. Duluth-Superior saw a 2.2 percent increase during the period, followed by Mankato at 2 percent, St. Cloud at 1.6 percent and Rochester at 1.2 percent.