State’s unemployment remains low

Published 10:26 am Friday, June 19, 2015

By Nick Woltman

St. Paul Pioneer Press

ST. PAUL — Minnesota’s unemployment rate ticked up 0.1 percentage point to 3.8 percent in May, according to figures released Thursday by the state’s Department of Employment and Economic Development.

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Although Minnesota shed 200 jobs during the month, Steve Hine, DEED’s director of labor market information, said the rise in the unemployment rate was driven primarily by the continued increase in the state’s labor force participation rate.

This measure, the percentage of the state’s labor force that is employed or are actively looking for work, rose to 70.8 percent.

“With baby boomers exiting the labor force, it is encouraging to see more people are seeking job opportunities in Minnesota,” DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben said in a news release.

Most of the new entrants to the workforce — many of them teen-agers — came in with no job lined up, which contributed to the rise in unemployment.

“A larger share were entering the labor market to look for jobs rather than to take a job they’ve already identified,” Hine said. “In previous months there was a better balance.”

The professional and business services sector cut the most jobs in May at 4,400, while the trade, transportation and utilities sector led the state in jobs growth, adding 6,600.

The manufacturing sector, which includes food producers, felt the effects of the recent bird flu epidemic, losing 1,000 jobs, Hine said.

The U.S. unemployment rate in May was 5.5 percent.

Mower County unemployment:

April 2015: 3.4 pct.

March 2015: 4.1 pct.

Feb. 2015: 4.2 pct.

April 2014: 4.0 pct.

March 2014: 4.8 pct.

Feb. 2014: 4.9 pct.

—Source: Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development