Minnesota employers added 7,300 jobs in June, the state reported Thursday, a gain mostly erased by a revision to May’s figures showing the state lost 8,400 jobs, far more than initially reported.
The job market remains in slow-growth mode, according to figures released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
The trend is explained in part by slow growth in the labor force — the number of people either working or looking for work — which has declined by an estimated 25,000 in the past two months.
Minnesota’s unemployment rate held steady at 3.8 percent for the fourth straight month. The U.S. unemployment rate in June was 4.9 percent.
Over the past year, the state has added 34,246 jobs, a gain of 1.2 percent. U.S. jobs were up 1.8 percent during that period.
Among Minnesota’s major metropolitan areas, the Twin Cities, Rochester, St. Cloud and Mankato have all added jobs in the past 12 months. Duluth and Superior, Wis., have lost jobs.
Estimates of unemployment among black Minnesotans have dropped dramatically since last June, from 15.2 percent to 9.7 percent. Hispanic or Latino unemployment is estimated up over that period from 3.8 percent to 4.7 percent. White unemployment has ticked downward from 2.9 percent to 2.8 percent.
Here are six takeaways from the latest figures:
1. The slow-growth pattern continues.
Hiring would be flat in Minnesota so far in 2016 if it weren’t for a banner April. Year-over-year hiring in June was the lowest since 2010, when the state had just lost jobs over the previous 12 months.
2. Some silver lining: Hiring for lower-paid jobs is slowing, while hiring for higher-paid jobs accelerates.
The regional economists at Wells Fargo analyzed Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages data in their useful monthly analysis of the Minnesota jobs report, and found that “Minnesota’s job growth has been concentrated toward the higher-end of the pay spectrum” and “job growth in lower-wage industries decelerated.” Take for instance health care. Hospital and outpatient centers need workers, but “hiring has slowed to a crawl” in nursing homes and personal care services.
3. Minnesota workers are still difficult to find for some companies despite the slow job growth.
The labor force has shrunk the past two months by about 25,000 since a record-setting May, when 3.069 million Minnesotans were either working or looking for work. Now there are 3.044 million in the labor force, according to estimates that come from a different set of data than the employment numbers that came out Thursday. The labor force participation rate fell by half a percentage point in June, to 70.5 percent, a low level common after the Great Recession but last reached before that in the early 1980s. A big part of the reason for the recent decline is the exodus of baby boomers from the job market via retirement.
4. Manufacturing hiring stayed flat.
Manufacturing employed 316,600 people in Minnesota in June, a number that’s been basically flat since the end of 2014. Durable goods hiring has been weaker than nondurable goods.
5. Take the monthly shifts with a grain of salt.
These monthly figures are subject to big revisions, as we saw with May. A lot of economists don’t even like talking about them for that reason.
6. Health care is the engine of job growth in Minnesota since the recession.
Over the past five years, health care has added 58,200 jobs, more than a quarter of the new hiring since June 2011. Construction comes second with 29,100 jobs added over that period, then lodging and food service; professional, scientific and technical industries; retail trade; and manufacturing. Mining and logging, and information (which includes publishing and broadcasting) have shed jobs over that period.