Minnesota’s job market got off to a wobbly start in January, and the state’s tepid growth in 2014 turned out to be even weaker after data revisions, according to new data released Tuesday.
Minnesota employers cut 7,900 jobs in January on a seasonally adjusted basis, though the state’s unemployment rate held steady at 3.7 percent, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. The national jobless rate in January was 5.7 percent.
Minnesota’s trade, transportation and utilities industries were hit hardest, shedding 6,000 seasonally adjusted jobs in January, according to the department. Retail and certain transportation jobs usually fall after the holiday shopping season.
The magnitude of this year’s drop, in part, reflects a healthier holiday season than in recent years, said Steve Hine, a state labor market analyst. More seasonal jobs were added, so there were more to cut.
“Retail wasn’t exactly robust,” he said, “but it was stronger than it has been.”
In January, construction jobs fell by 1,700. Information jobs were down 1,400, manufacturing 1,100 and government 900.
The extent of the decline in construction was surprising, Hine said, though winter jobs data in that field can be volatile.
Professional and business services led all sectors in January by gaining 2,200 jobs, followed by education and health services, which added 1,500 jobs.
Creighton University’s research for its Mid-America Business Conditions Index also showed a slowing of growth in Minnesota’s manufacturing industries. Under the index, 50 indicates growth. Minnesota’s fell from 61.4 in December to 60.1 in January, which is still considered a strong showing.
The data used to configure the unemployment rate and the total number of jobs come from separate surveys, each with their own margin of error, so they can sometimes seem contradictory. Economists looking at end-of-year data in January said indicators could mean Minnesota is nearing full employment.
State and federal monthly employment data are culled from surveys done by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. At the beginning of a new year, state statisticians revise those numbers, using more complete data from state filings by Minnesota companies.
The revised data show that Minnesota gained nearly 21,800 jobs last year, 11,620 fewer than originally reported. The revision closes the book on a year that featured the weakest annual job growth in Minnesota since 2010, lagging behind the national growth rate by nearly one-half.