Minnesota employers added 7,700 jobs in July, faster than the average rate over the past year and above the national growth rate for the second month in a row.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development said Thursday it also revised its June data sharply higher. The agency a month ago estimated that the state added 4,400 jobs. But it now says the gain was more than twice as high, at 9,300 jobs.

The state's unemployment rate held steady at 3.7 percent while the U.S. unemployment rate for July was 4.3 percent. All figures are adjusted for seasonal hiring patterns.

"Minnesota is outperforming the rest of the country in a number of key economic measures, including the overall unemployment rate, labor force participation and employment-to-population ratio," Shawntera Hardy, commissioner of the economic agency, said in a statement.

Through the 12 months ended July 31, the state added 66,701 jobs, a gain of 2.3 percent. The U.S. job growth rate over the same period was 1.5 percent. The state's annual gain worked out to an average of about 5,560 jobs a month.

The state's monthly job figures are volatile, but they have been strong for most of the year. Over the past 12 months, 10 of the 11 employment sectors have added jobs. The only sector that was down, financial activities, lost 572 jobs.

The biggest growing sector over the past year, education and health services, again led the way in July with a gain of 8,400 jobs. Leisure and hospitality employers added 2,800 jobs and government offices and workplaces added 1,600 jobs.

For the 12 months ending in July, the Twin Cities saw a 2.7 percent increase and Duluth a 2.4 percent increase, both faster than the state as a whole. Job growth in Rochester was 1.9 percent, St. Cloud 1.8 percent and Mankato 1.7 percent.