Minnesota added 15,100 jobs in April, the most in a month since September 2013, amid a burst of hiring across most sectors of the economy.
The state’s unemployment rate, adjusted for seasonal differences, held steady at 3.8 percent.
The monthly additions and subtractions to the Minnesota labor force tend to be volatile and subject to revision. But the breadth of hiring last month provided a huge burst in a state that has been averaging about 3,000 new jobs a month since the end of the recession in 2009.
“Eight of the 11 major jobs sectors were all pointing in the same direction,” said Steve Hine, director of labor market information at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. “The losses in the other ones were very small.”
The April gain was the 10th-best since the agency began keeping track of the monthly ups and downs of Minnesota’s job scene in 1990.
Hiring bursts like April’s tend to be one-offs that are followed by lower levels of activity the next month, Hine said. But in 2013, both August and September saw job additions exceed 15,000. The September 2013 total was 16,300.
April’s big gain in jobs pushed Minnesota closer to the national average for job growth over the last year. The state added 34,715 jobs during the 12 months ending in April, up 1.2 percent. Nationally, job growth was 1.4 percent in that period. Job growth in the Twin Cities beat both the state and nation at 1.5 percent over the last 12 months.
Minnesota for many years has lagged the national rate of job growth, chiefly because the state has a greater percentage of people working than the nation as a whole. For much of 2016, the state’s job growth was a much as a half-percent lower than the nation’s. It began to narrow with a surge of hiring in November and December and was slightly above the national rate in March.
April marked another milestone in jobs data. For the first time, more Minnesotans — 538,800 — were employed in education and health services, one of the 11 sectors, than any other. Hospitals, clinics and other health services companies have been on a hiring spree, driving most of the growth in that sector.
The trade, transportation and utilities sector, which for years was the state’s largest, had 537,900 people. Overall, just more than 2.9 million Minnesotans had jobs in April.
The jobs agency said the state’s economy is operating at nearly its full potential and that unemployment appeared to reach a minimum level last summer. Since then, there have been slight increases in unemployment, chiefly among women and teenagers.
In April, employers in education and health services led all sectors with 4,300 new jobs. Construction firms added 3,600 jobs, government 3,000, professional and business service firms 2,700 and manufacturers 1,100.
Trade, transportation and utilities were down 700, financial activities 500 and logging and mining 100 during April.
In the state’s smaller cities, St. Cloud’s job growth was 1.4 percent over the last 12 months, Rochester 0.8 percent and Duluth 0.2 percent. Mankato saw a 0.2 percent decline in jobs.