Minnesota added 7,400 jobs in October, the most in a single month this year, the state jobs agency said Thursday.
The state’s unemployment rate held at 3.2% and the percentage of working-age Minnesotans who are actually working rose a tenth of a point to 70.3%, the highest level since October 2016.
In all, the new data suggest that Minnesota’s job market hasn’t topped out yet and that hiring has accelerated from the snail’s pace rate it was at for much of the year.
“There continues to be a high demand for workers in the state,” Steve Grove, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, (DEED) said in a statement.
The agency also revised its data for September, now saying Minnesota employers added 1,600 jobs that month, far more than the 100 it originally said were added.
The state’s monthly jobs data is volatile and often revised a month later. In June, the agency initially estimated that Minnesota added 100 jobs in May, but a month later it revised that figure to a gain of 2,000.
Broadly, Minnesota employers have been adding jobs at a steadily declining pace for several years. The latest data show that Minnesota added about 12,600 jobs during the 12 months ended Oct. 31. That is one of the better annual gains seen this year, though well below the 30,000 to 40,000 rate of annual job growth that the state regularly experienced until about two years ago.
A year ago, the state’s unemployment rate dipped to 2.8% and economists debated whether the state was nearing full employment. With the rate of job additions falling to as low as 200 people in April and the unemployment rate climbing back to 3.4% in July, it appeared a peak had been reached.
But the new data suggest employers are finding ways to pull more people off the sidelines and get them to work. Higher wages — up 4.5% in Minnesota over the last year — have been one factor.
In October, Minnesota’s leisure and hospitality employers added the most jobs, nearly 5,000. Trade and transportation firms as well as manufacturers and construction firms also added jobs. Government agencies added 200 workers last month. Those gains were offset by drops in information and financial employers and other sectors.
Rochester added more than 1,200 jobs, the most of any of the state’s five metropolitan areas.