ROCHESTER — Area unemployment continues to be tight as the region entered the fourth quarter.

The Rochester Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Dodge, Fillmore, Olmsted and Wabasha counties, at the same time lost a little over 1,000 jobs in September compared to the previous month according to the latest state data available.

Job losses aren't unusual for this time of year as seasonal work ends, but Rochester is doing better than previous years, even before the pandemic. The area lost more than 1,800 jobs from August to September in 2019, and about 1,400 jobs during that same period in 2018.

The area's unemployment rate decreased from 1.8% to 1.5% last month. The local labor force shrank by about 950 people while about 400 fewer people sought employment compared to August.

Cameron Macht, a regional analyst with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. said the Rochester area continues to lead the state in economic recovery.

"If you look at labor force numbers, again, Rochester is in a pretty good position in terms of being able to regain its labor force and actually see some labor force growth in comparison to where it was pre-pandemic," Macht said. "Most of the other metros can't say that yet."

Rochester's leisure and hospitality industry lost just over 300 jobs last month, though overall job growth is up 8.7% compared to September 2021. The area's retail trade industry lost more than 100 jobs in September, but that sector is up 7.1% over last year.

Only a few sectors in Rochester grew last month — education and health services, the transportation, warehousing and utilities industry, and federal government work. Education and health services work continues to grow as the top industry in the area, up about 2% from last year.

While unemployment numbers continue to indicate a tight labor market for employers, state officials say the market is a boon for workers. Macht said people looking for work who also face barriers should contact local DEED offices and CareerForce locations to get help securing jobs.

"There are so many opportunities out there," he said.