Minnesota lost 4,000 jobs in November, which caused the pace of annual job growth in the state to slip below the U.S. rate, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) reported Thursday.
Of the 4,000 net positions eliminated last month, losses in leisure and hospitality led the decline as hotel and restaurants let go or lost to retirement 7,500 workers. Other sectors shedding workers included "other services," which lost 1,500 employees. Manufacturing and information each lost 700 jobs.
While job losses dominated the month, there were industries that increased hiring last month. Those gains were led by trade, transportation and utilities, which gained 2,300 jobs, as well as construction and professional/business services, which each added 1,800.
A quick glimpse of DEED's report could suggest possible trouble, but DEED officials said they were not concerned and noted that November often shows seasonally adjusted job losses that are recouped in subsequent months.
DEED officials also noted that the job market is strong and that most displaced Minnesotans are soon able to find replacement work. November marked the 101st month of economic expansion since the Great Recession.
Other economic reports issued this month signal that corporations are enjoying revenue and profit gains and many are also increasing payroll.
"While the state lost jobs in November, Minnesotans are continuing to find work in an improving economy," DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy said in a statement.
She also noted that Minnesota's total employment numbers are up for the year. The state added more than 34,500 jobs over the past year, reflecting a 1.2 percent gain.
Nationwide, jobs grew 1.4 percent during the same period.
In Minnesota, all metro areas saw job gains over the past year, led by the Twin Cities with a 2.1 percent gain. To compare, job gains in Mankato rose 1.9 percent; St. Cloud, 1.7 percent; Duluth, 1.5 percent; and Rochester, 0.3 percent.
State officials were upbeat about other news reported Thursday.
The state's unemployment rate declined in November to 3.1 percent, a level not seen since July 2000. The state's unemployment rate had been 3.4 percent in October.
Minnesota labor market economist Steve Hine said that unemployment is now so low that many companies will have a much harder time finding and competing for workers.
Hine also noted the state's labor force participation rate was a strong 70.6 percent in November. The robust figure was "a bit unexpected" and the highest since 2011, Hine said. The high figure suggests that older workers are perhaps choosing to remain in the workplace instead of retiring.
Staff writer Doug Iverson contributed to this report.