Minnesota hits lowest jobless rate in 8 years

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Minnesota's unemployment rate dropped to 4.1 percent in September, the lowest jobless rate in the state in eight years, according to seasonally adjusted figures released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

Minnesota's unemployment rate fell 0.2 percent last month, and it's still lower than the U.S. unemployment rate, which was 5.9 percent in September.

The state's employers added 7,200 jobs last month, according to the jobs report, which is the last one before the November election.

Both major political parties have been using job figures in their campaigns. Democrats have said the dropping unemployment rate along with job growth points to an improved economy, while Republicans have argued that too many people are in positions beneath their pay and skill level.

Gov. Mark Dayton has focused his gubernatorial campaign on the economy, touting the state's relatively low unemployment rate, the Pioneer Press says, while Republican challenger Jeff Johnson has said the state's job growth is behind other states.

Breakdown of jobs report

The largest September gains came in professional and business services, which added 4,100 jobs. Leisure and hospitality (up 3,900), "other services" (up 1,300) education and health services (up 1,100), manufacturing (up 1,100), trade, transportation and utilities (up 300) and construction (up 200) also added jobs. DEED says the information sector held steady last month.

However, some sectors lost jobs in September. Government (down 4,200), financial activities (down 400) and mining and logging (down 200) were all down.

“As of September, it has been exactly five years since Minnesota’s employment level hit the recessionary low,” Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben said in a news release. “Since then, our state has added 212,800 jobs, enough to put us 53,800 jobs above our pre-recessionary peak. With 50 consecutive months of over-the-year job growth, Minnesota’s economy is showing signs of consistent, broad-based progress."

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