Minnesota lost 3,200 jobs last month, and the state added fewer jobs in March than initially thought, the state jobs agency said Thursday.
The new data provided more evidence that hiring has slowed sharply in the state this year amid an ultratight supply of workers. The agency said the number of unemployed workers is at a 17-year low.
Minnesota's unemployment rate remained at 3.2 percent in April, the lowest rate since 2000, the Department of Employment and Economic Development said.
The agency also revised its March data, initially reported as an increase of 2,900 jobs, to a gain of 400.
In a statement, DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy suggested that the snowstorms at the start of April may have played a role in the job losses. But the data showed a continuing slower pace of hiring, something that became visible last fall and turned more pronounced after the start of 2018.
In the 12 months that ended April 30, Minnesota employers added 11,659 jobs. That is about one-third the pace of 34,715 new jobs they added in the 12 months ending April 30, 2017.
"Generally low and stable unemployment and underemployment mean that Minnesota's economy is running very close to its full potential," DEED said in its outlook statement released with the data. In all, about 2.9 million Minnesotans have jobs.
Unemployment remains higher for black and Hispanic workers than the state average, the agency said, "which shows that there is still room for improvement in the employment situation in the state." Black unemployment in April was reported at 6.8 percent and Hispanic unemployment was 3.6 percent, although the department said those numbers are based on smaller sample sizes and are more susceptible to measurement error.
In April, leisure and hospitality employers trimmed 3,600 jobs. Trade, transportation and utilities cut 2,000 jobs. There were smaller cuts in construction, professional and business services, and education and health services.
Other service employers, financial employers, manufacturers and government agencies registered upticks in hiring last month.
The Twin Cities, Duluth, St. Cloud and Mankato reported increases in jobs, while the Rochester area showed a 0.6 percent decline.