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Analyst: U.S. job numbers could be omen of weakness in Minn.

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Minnesota's jobs reports have been relatively rosy recently, but one analyst worries that winning streak may stall when new numbers come out this week.

MPR spoke with labor market analyst Steve Hine, who says a soft figure in the national hiring report last week could presage weakness in Minnesota's new numbers. Nationwide, 88,000 jobs were filled in March which is far less than experts forecast.

Minnesota's economy has been growing faster than the national rate recently. Officials announced last month that the state has recovered nearly as many jobs as it lost during the recession. The Grand Forks Herald reports job growth in northwestern Minnesota has fueled a housing shortage in that area.

What might explain a slowdown in hiring? Hine tells MPR the sequestration cuts at the federal level may be a factor. Last week the Associated Press reported that while job openings remain strong, many of those positions are going unfilled. Low wages or a lack of qualified candidates are among the possible explanations.

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