With weak job growth, state jobless rate ticks up to 6.6%

Employers added 1,200 jobs in Minnesota last month — not enough to keep up with the state’s growing available workforce in the state.

As a result, the state’s unemployment rate ticked up 0.1 percentage point from a month earlier to a seasonally adjusted 6.6 percent, according to the latest figures released this morning by the state Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

State numbers followed the national unemployment trend of anemic job growth. The U.S. jobless rate was 9.1 percent in May.

In addition, the agency said the April job count for Minnesota was revised to reflect a loss of 2,600 jobs, instead of the 5,200 loss number originally reported.

“The private sector in Minnesota has shown steady improvement, adding 7,300 jobs in the past two months,” said DEED Commissioner Mark Phillips.”Initial claims for unemployment benefits continue to drop, and the Help Wanted OnLine count of advertised job vacancies in Minnesota jumped 14,000 in May, the third-biggest increase among all states.”

In a conference call with reporters, Steve Hine, DEED Labor Market Information Office research director, said that “decent growth in private sector employment” offset declines in state and local government employment.

The increase in the unemployment rate was driven in part because more people are looking for work, he said.

The labor force participation rate rose to 72 percent, up 0.3 percentage points since January, which Hine described as “a long-anticipated positive development.”
In addition, temporary employment has remained high, which typically is a sign that employers are needing to add capacity. Combined with the strong online job postings, Hine said it “does suggest that firms are really on the hunt for workers.”

The possible shutdown of state government would affect the total employment numbers if a shutdown extended past July 20, Hine explained. The unemployment rate, though would not be affected if state government workers were not been permanently laid off and could expect to return to work.

It may be a somewhat moot point, because Hine did not know if his office would be available to collect and report jobless figures in the event of a shutdown.
When asked if the workforce centers that help the jobless seek work would be closed, DEED spokesperson Kim Insenberg said it was uncertain. “Until the courts make a final decision, it’s still hard to speculate.”

Construction led all sectors in May, adding 2,200 jobs. Other gains occurred in professional and business services (up 1,900), financial activities (up 500), trade, transportation and utilities (up 500), other services (up 200), information (up 100), and education and health services (up 100). Leisure and hospitality, along with mining and logging, were unchanged during the month.

May job losses occurred in the government sector (down 4,200 jobs) and manufacturing (down 100).

Over the past year, Minnesota job gains have been recorded in professional and business services (up 11,400), education and health services (up 7,400), manufacturing (up 4,500), leisure and hospitality (up 3,500), information (up 600), trade, transportation and utilities (up 500), logging and mining (up 400), and other services (up 200).

The following sectors have lost jobs in the past 12 months: construction (down 6,700), government (down 6,000) and financial activities (down 600).

In the state Metropolitan Statistical Areas, job gains have occurred in the past year in the Rochester MSA (up 1.3 percent), the Duluth-Superior MSA (up 0.3 percent) and the Minneapolis-St. Paul MSA (up 0.1 percent). Job losses occurred in the St. Cloud MSA (down 1.5 percent) and the Mankato MSA (down 0.9 percent).

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by John Clawson on 06/16/2011 - 05:02 pm.

    With 20 million people unemployed in this country (13 million or so offical and 6-7 off the charts now), and no highway building; housing development; urban business construction; church, school or shopping center construction; amusement park development; or large-scale transportation development (air, rail) anywhere in country in the foreseeable future, where are these people going to work? With no real hiring to speak of in the country and enactment of the Republican platform policy to reduce public-side employment by 15% or more, who’s gonna buy stuff (cars, clothes, fresh fruit and veggies)? With numbers of people in the middle-class in a decades-long nosedive, who’s gonna buy, or give to charity to rebuild cities destoryed by flood and storm, like some in the political class want/expect?? With wages for hourly workers at a stagnant level for beyond ten years (MN nbursing home employees have no salary adjustment for three years!)who’s gonna be buying? and giving? With public schools set up to fail and the incentive for kids to graduate from hi school (for what purpose? employment?? ha!) what are the portents for the economic future of the state and nation? Every time another economists amazes at the stagnant (actualkly declining) employment numbers, ask yourself: where are these people SUPPOSED to be working? at what? and at what wage? The days of wages that would allow a couple to send their children to college, buy a cabin “up north”, and live a resonably comfortable life like our parents did are gone forever, never to return. Nor is employment below 7% or so. Nor is what we have called the middle class. The unschooled and untrained have no future. And then what will be OUR future?

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