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Minnesota gains 2,600 jobs in March to historic high of 3 million

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Minnesota employers added 2,600 jobs in March, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) reported this morning. Spokesperson Steve Hein observed, “We did manage to show some signs in March after a slow start in February,” in reference to February’s small job loss that was revised downward another 1,100 jobs lost than was originally reported for February.
Minnesota compares favorably to U.S.
Over the last twelve months, Minnesota has grown by 1.5 percent compared to 1.6 percent for the entire U.S. The state’s unemployment rate did not change coming in at a seasonally adjusted 4.8 percent, far outperforming the national rate of 6.7 percent.
Historic high of 3 million is not enough
While Minnesota now has more than 3 million workers for the first time in history, the economy has not grown enough to absorb workers entering the workforce as the population increases. Steve Hein gave a rough estimate that Minnesota needs to add another 30,000 jobs to reduce the unemployment rate from the current 4.8 percent to a “full employment situation" of 3.8 percent.
Construction job gain surprisingly strong
While March professional and business services led all sectors by adding 3,500 new jobs, construction also added 2,700. “I was very surprised to see the strength in the construction numbers that more than offset the impact of the bad weather. Even though we were in the depths of winter in March, this growth in construction does show positive signs for a growing economy,” observed Hein. Construction is now up by 9,163 jobs over the past twelve months.
Department store employment trending down
Hein noted a “glaring weakness” in department stores, which are down more than 20,000 jobs from the prerecession high in 2008. This trend leads one to believe there may be fundamental changes in the way people buy goods.
Outstate areas lead growth
St Cloud was up 2.2 percent and Mankato was up 2.1 percent for the year leading all other Metropolitan Statistical Areas. Minneapolis-St. Paul grew by 1.4 percent over the last 12 months.

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