Minnesota’s economy added 15,600 jobs in April, as the private sector posted its second-best month of job creation since the state stated tracking the numbers in 1990.
Most sectors added jobs, but the gains were led by durable goods manufacturing, administrative services, bars and restaurants, and construction, data from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development showed Thursday.
“The surge in hiring last month points to continued growth in the state economy,” Shawntera Hardy, the department’s new commissioner, said in a statement. “Despite a tighter labor market, employers are finding workers to fill their payrolls.”
The encouraging numbers come after a tepid start to the year, with job growth roughly flat through the first quarter. Year-over-year job growth in Minnesota remains well behind the national average, growing at a pace of 1.1 percent, compared with 1.9 percent for the nation.
The unemployment rate in Minnesota held steady at 3.8 percent. The U.S. unemployment rate in April was 5 percent.
Estimated unemployment among blacks fell to 12 percent in April, while the jobless rate for Hispanic or Latino workers rose slightly, to 5 percent. White unemployment in Minnesota dropped slightly to 2.9 percent.
Of the state’s five major urban areas, only Duluth-Superior has seen a job decline in the past 12 months, falling 1.7 percent. Minneapolis-St. Paul is up 1.5 percent, Rochester is up 2.3 percent, St. Cloud is up 1.5 percent and Mankato is up 1 percent.
Projects boost construction
Construction in Minnesota has posted another solid first part of the year. Now 128,500 people are employed in the industry, a 5 percent increase compared with a year ago and only 10,000 jobs short of the pre-recession peak.
Steve Hine, the labor market analyst for the state, said the Vikings stadium has helped boost employment in the industry, but so have other projects. As U.S. Bank Stadium nears completion, construction workers will be looking for other projects.
“A lot depends on whether we get a transportation bill,” Hine said.
Some of the biggest gains in manufacturing were in wood products, he said.
Over the past year, only logging and mining, government and information — a sector that includes journalists — have lost jobs.