Minnesota employers shed 8,300 jobs in January, reversing a surge of hiring that added nearly 25,000 jobs during the final two months of 2016.
The state’s unemployment rate held steady at 4 percent in January, according to a preliminary estimate released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).
“Trends point to solid growth in the state labor market and suggest that January’s figures may have been a temporary correction,” DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy said in a statement.
The monthly employment data is volatile. The gains in November and December, for instance, were preceded by a drop of 12,500 jobs in October.
Minnesota has just under 3 million people employed at the moment and the relatively small shifts of a few thousand people each month often are revised with additional analysis or new data.
The agency this month moved its hiring figures for full-year 2016 slightly lower, a change that lifted the December unemployment rate, originally announced as 3.9 percent, to 4 percent.
For the 12-month period that began in February 2016 and ended in January 2017, the state added 35,136 jobs, an increase of 1.2 percent. U.S. job growth over the same period was 1.5 percent.
Minnesota’s job growth significantly trailed the national rate for much of last year, mainly because of the relative strength of the state’s economy, which has lower unemployment and higher labor participation than the nation. Through November, the state’s growth lagged the nation’s by a full half-percentage point.
Ten of the 11 business sectors measured by the state employment agency gained jobs in the past year. The one that didn’t, manufacturing, lost about 1,800 jobs, it said.
The biggest gainer was the education and health services sector, which the agency groups together, with about 13,200 new jobs. Government was next with 4,400 new jobs. Trade, transportation and utilities added 4,200 jobs.
During that February-through-January period, the Twin Cities saw the fastest job growth of the state’s metropolitan areas, with a 1.4 percent gain. St. Cloud followed with a 1.3 percent jump.
Rochester experienced a 0.8 percent gain in jobs and Duluth edged into positive territory with a 0.1 percent increase. Mankato saw a 0.3 percent loss in jobs.