Minnesota employers cut 12,500 jobs in October, another worrying sign for a job market that has been slow-growing for a year and stagnant since July.
It was the worst monthly job loss in Minnesota since July 2011.
“The number of jobs lost in October is certainly a disappointment,” said Shawntera Hardy, commissioner of Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, which released the figures on Thursday. “However, this is one snapshot in time. Overall, the state has still added more than 30,000 jobs this past year, and Minnesota’s unemployment rate remains steady.”
The monthly figures are subject to revision, but they are almost always directionally correct, and October’s loss follows almost no job growth in August and September.
The official measure of Minnesota unemployment held steady at 4 percent despite the loss of jobs in part because the labor force — those working or looking for work — shrank for the sixth straight month. The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.9 percent.
In October, all industries shed jobs in Minnesota except for financial services, which added 1,100 jobs, and government, which added 200. Manufacturing dropped to its lowest level of employment since November 2014.
Over the past year, Minnesota has gained 31,375 jobs, an increase of 1.1 percent. National job growth over the same period has been 1.6 percent.
Mark Vitner, a regional economist for Wells Fargo who tracks Minnesota’s economy, wrote Thursday that the slow job growth is in large part a result of slow population growth and the challenge for employers of filling open positions.
“The Minnesota Department of Employment’s recent job vacancy survey showed that there is about one unemployed person in the state for every job opening,” Vitner wrote. “We view the hiring slowdown as understandable given fundamentals.”
Black unemployment, which had been sinking all year, ticked upward in October to an estimated 8.4 percent. Latino unemployment continued its rise, landing at 6 percent.
White unemployment was steady at 2.9 percent.
Rochester is enjoying the best run of job growth in the state, adding employment at a rate of 2.6 percent over the past 12 months. St. Cloud’s job growth has been 1.8 percent, the Twin Cities’ growth has been 1.4 percent, Mankato is growing at 0.4 percent and Duluth-Superior lost jobs at a rate of 0.1 percent.
“The broad and significant weakness in October’s employment release is a reminder that our economy is always susceptible to the impact of shocks, especially as our expansion enters its eighth year,” said Oriane Casale, a labor market analyst for the state. “Employment growth, unemployment trends and leading indicators continue to suggest a slow but steady recovery.”