Minnesota’s job market slid backward in July because of declines in construction, hospitality and restaurants.
Minnesota employers cut 3,900 jobs and the state’s unemployment rate rose slightly to 4 percent, according to figures released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. U.S. unemployment is 5.3 percent.
July’s job decline was offset somewhat by an upward revision of 2,700 jobs in June, bringing total gains that month to 5,600 jobs.
The growth of Minnesota’s job market has slowed considerably in 2015, with employment roughly flat since April. The state has added 43,719 jobs in the past 12 months, compared with 62,803 jobs over the same period a year earlier.
The state economy has made back most of the deep job losses from the recession and has entered an era of more gradual growth, said Steve Hine, the labor market economist for the state.
“If anything has been exhausted, in some areas it would be the need to regain the cyclical losses,” Hine said.
Government led all sectors in July by adding 2,700 new jobs, primarily in local government. Professional and business services added 1,400 jobs, mostly in the administrative and support category. Finance and insurance 1,100 jobs and logging and mining added 300 jobs.
Leisure and hospitality — a category that includes hotels, restaurants and recreational businesses — lost 3,700 jobs. Construction lost 2,000. Trade, transportation and utilities lost 1,700, and private education lost 2,400 jobs.
All the major cities in the state have seen employment grow in the past 12 months, with Minneapolis-St. Paul, Duluth and Mankato leading the way and St. Cloud and Rochester seeing marginal improvements.
Estimates of black unemployment in Minnesota continued to climb in July, to 15.6 percent. Latino unemployment, however, continues a dramatic decline. Hispanic unemployment fell to 3.6 percent in Minnesota, compared to 8.5 percent a year ago.
Hine is reluctant to draw hard conclusions from those figures, because the sample size to determine unemployment rates by race is so small, but high black unemployment is still troubling.
“The unemployment rate for African-Americans continues to be very high,” he said. “There’s a subset of our population there that continues to struggle in our recovery in ways that maybe those top-level numbers continue to mask.”