The burst came in April, and the cool off followed in May.
In a pattern as regular as worms on sidewalks after a rainstorm, Minnesota employers trimmed jobs last month after adding a huge number in April, data from the state jobs agency showed Thursday.
The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 3.7 percent in May, matching a level seen in June 2015 as the lowest since before the 2007-09 recession. Minnesota’s unemployment rate was 3.8 percent in April.
But the data from the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) also reinforced the volatility the agency routinely experiences with its monthly survey.
The gain of 15,100 jobs it reported for April was the most in a month since September 2013. On rare occasions, a big gain is followed by another one. More typically, however, a big gain is followed by job losses the following month. On Thursday, the agency reported that Minnesota employers eliminated 7,200 jobs in May.
Four of 11 job sectors reported more jobs or a steady number last month, the DEED report said, with the other seven experiencing losses. There are 2.9 million Minnesotans working in nonfarm jobs.
In another example of the volatility, the measure of annual job growth that DEED provides every month showed a big change in May from April. For the 12 months ending April 30, Minnesota added 34,715 jobs, a 1.2 percent gain that was below the national rate of 1.4 percent for that period. But for the 12 months ending May 31, Minnesota added 48,068 jobs, a 1.7 percent jump that was higher than the national gain of 1.5 percent.
“Minnesota is outpacing the nation in job growth, with all 11 major industrial sectors seeing gains over the past year,” DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy said in a statement. “These and other indicators point to continued strength in the state labor market.”
For most of eight years since the recession, Minnesota’s job growth has lagged the nation’s in large part because the state’s job scene didn’t suffer as much as the broader country’s did. As well, Minnesota’s labor force participation has been higher, making it more difficult to grow.
Minnesota’s job growth trailed the nation’s by as much as a half-percentage point for much of 2016. It narrowed with a surge of hiring late in the year and, in addition to May’s outperformance, was also above the national rate in March.
In May, the education and health services sector, which has contributed the most jobs in the state over the past year, was down 100 jobs, DEED said.
On a municipal level, St. Cloud showed the best job growth over the 12 months ending in May with a 2.1 percent gain. The Twin Cities region showed 2 percent job growth, the Rochester and Duluth areas were both up 1.1 percent and Mankato was up 0.8 percent.