Minn. jobless rate drops to 5.5 percent, lowest since Aug. 2008

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Minnesota's unemployment rate fell to 5.5 percent in December as employers added 9,100 jobs, MPR reports. It's slightly better than the state's revised jobless rate in November of 5.6 percent and far better than the national rate of 7.8 percent.

“That’s the lowest rate since August 2008, which was the month before the financial market meltdown,” labor analyst Steve Hine of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development told WCCO.

The construction sector shed 3,500 payroll jobs last month, but Finance & Commerce notes the industry is up 3.9 percent over the past 12 months.

The Associated Press says Minnesota has gained more than 50,000 jobs over the past year.

"The state labor market is growing at a brisk pace, gaining more than 21,000 jobs in the final two months of 2012," Katie Clark Sieben, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development said in a news release. "Minnesota is recovering jobs well ahead of the rest of the country and is positioned to stay on that course in coming months."

Read the full report below:

ST. PAUL – The state added another 9,100 jobs in December, according to figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

In addition to those gains, job figures from November were revised from 10,800 jobs gained to 12,300 jobs gained. The state has added about 50,700 jobs over the past year, a growth rate of 1.9 percent, compared with a growth rate of 1.4 percent nationally.

The state unemployment rate fell to a seasonally adjusted 5.5 percent last month, down 0.1 percent from a revised 5.6 percent in November. The U.S. unemployment rate last month was 7.8 percent.

“The state labor market is growing at a brisk pace, gaining more than 21,000 jobs in the final two months of 2012,” said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben. “Minnesota is recovering jobs well ahead of the rest of the country and is positioned to stay on that course in coming months.”

Trade, transportation and utilities led all industrial sectors in December, gaining 3,900 jobs. Other gains occurred in professional and business services (up 2,500), education and health services (up 1,800), manufacturing (up 1,400), information (up 1,400), government (up 900), leisure and hospitality (up 800), and financial activities (up 600). Logging and mining held steady.

The only sectors to lose jobs in December were construction (down 3,500) and other services (down 700).

Over-the-year job gains occurred in education and health services (up 22,700), trade, transportation and utilities (up 5,600), financial activities (up 3,800), construction (up 3,300), leisure and hospitality (up 3,100), government (up 2,900), other services (up 2,700), manufacturing (up 2,500), professional and business services (up 2,400) and information (up 1,800).

Logging and mining was the only sector to lose jobs year-over-year, dropping 20 positions.

In the state Metropolitan Statistical Areas, job gains occurred in the past 12 months in the St. Cloud MSA (up 2.8 percent), Duluth-Superior MSA (up 2.1 percent), Minneapolis-St. Paul MSA (up 1.5 percent) Mankato MSA (up 1.1 percent) and Rochester MSA (up 0.9 percent).

DEED is the state’s principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more details about the agency and our services, visit us at www.PositivelyMinnesota.com. Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/PositivelyMN.

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