State added 15,100 jobs in April; Biggest monthly gain since 2013

Published 7:46 am Friday, May 19, 2017

By Evan Ramstad

Minneapolis Star Tribune

Minnesota added 15,100 jobs last month, the most in a single month since September 2013, the state economic agency said this morning.

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The state’s unemployment rate, adjusted for seasonal differences, held steady at 3.8 percent last month.

April’s big gain in jobs pushed Minnesota closer to the national average for job growth over the last year. The state added 34,715 jobs during the 12 months ending in April, up 1.2 percent. Nationally, job growth was 1.4 percent in that period.

Job growth in the Twin Cities beat both the state and nation at 1.5 percent over the last 12 months.

Minnesota for many years has lagged the national rate of job growth, chiefly because the state has a greater percentage of people working than the nation as a whole. For much of 2016, the state’s job growth was a much as a half-percent lower than the nation’s. It began to narrow with a surge of hiring in November and December.

“This is the largest monthly jobs gain Minnesota has seen in nearly four years,” Shawntera Hardy, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, said in a statement.

“Minnesota has already added nearly 23,000 jobs in the first four months of 2017. That job growth combined with rising wages and increasing work hours all point to strong labor market conditions statewide,” she said.

There were slightly less than 2.95 million Minnesotans working in April.

The jobs agency said the state’s economy is operating at nearly its full potential and that unemployment appeared to reach a minimum level last summer. Since then, there have been slight increases in unemployment, chiefly among women and teenagers.

In April, employers in education and health services led all sectors with 4,300 new jobs. Construction firms added 3,600 jobs, government 3,000, professional and business service firms 2,700 and manufacturers 1,100.

Trade, transportation and utilities were down 700, financial activities 500 and logging and mining 100 during April.

Over the past year, all job sectors except leisure and hospitality added jobs in Minnesota.

In the state’s smaller cities, St. Cloud’s job growth was 1.4 percent over the last 12 months, Rochester 0.8 percent and Duluth 0.2 percent. Mankato saw a 0.2 percent decline in jobs.
—Distributed by Tribune Content Agency.