A stall in hiring around Minnesota extended to a second month in September but the state’s unemployment rate dipped another notch anyway.
The unemployment rate fell to 2.8 percent last month from 2.9 percent in August, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) reported Thursday.
Minnesota last had a 2.8 percent unemployment rate in May 1999. The state’s all-time low rate is 2.5 percent, reached in early 1999.
But the market of nearly 3 million jobs lost 1,400 last month. And a decline in August, initially measured at 200 jobs, was revised downward to a loss of 2,500.
Those declines contributed to a slower growth rate of 1.3 percent for the 12 months ended Sept. 30 than the 1.7 percent rate seen in the 12 months ended Aug. 31. The nation’s job growth rate was 1.9 percent in the year ending in September.
For a time earlier this year, Minnesota’s job growth measured on that annual basis was faster than the nation’s. But the ultralow unemployment rate means that the state job market is near its full potential and has difficulty adding more jobs.
“While job declines are disappointing, they are to some extent a consequence of earlier economic strength,” DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy said in a statement. “This summer we saw large job gains, particularly in leisure and hospitality. These industries tend to eliminate some of those jobs at the end of the busy summer travel season.”
The state’s leisure and hospitality employers reported losing 1,700 jobs in September. Manufacturers lost 1,600 jobs and services firms lost 1,300.
Trade, transportation and utilities had the biggest gain with 1,200 added jobs. Government employers were next with 1,100 new jobs and then companies involved in financial activities, which added 900 jobs.
The number of long-term unemployed, people who have been out of work for at least six months, fell 300 to 12,100. They accounted for 13.8 percent of the unemployed base.
The state’s jobs data by ethnicity and age was largely unchanged from August and all five of the state’s metro areas showed gains in hiring during September.