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Minnesota hits lowest unemployment rate in 7 years

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Minnesota's unemployment rate is now the lowest it's been since February of 2007.

The state added 8,500 jobs in June, pushing the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to a seven-year low of 4.5 percent, the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) said in a news release.

"Minnesota had positive employment growth in June, with more total jobs than ever before in our state’s history," said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben. "The unemployment rate hasn’t been this low since February 2007, while new claims for unemployment benefits dropped to their lowest level in nearly 14 years."

The largest June gains came in government (+3,900 jobs), education and health services (+3,500), and trade, transportation and utilities (+2,200). Logging and mining gained 200 jobs.

On the other end, the "other services" job sector lost 1,400 jobs last month. Manufacturing (-900), leisure and hospitality (-300) and construction (-100) also went down.

It's the state's second consecutive month of "strong job growth," DEED says, after solid numbers in May.

Minnesota added 53,779 jobs in the past 12 months, a 1.9 percent annual growth rate, matching the U.S. growth rate. The national unemployment rate in June was higher however, at 6.1 percent.

Jobless rate highest in Northland

The five metro areas listed on the jobs report – Minneapolis-St. Paul, Duluth-Superior, Rochester, St. Cloud and Mankato – all saw job growth over the past year.

St. Cloud is up 2.8 percent, Minneapolis-St. Paul up 1.8 percent and Mankato up 1.6 percent. Rochester (0.3 percent) and Duluth-Superior (0.3 percent) saw smaller gains.

DEED provides a statewide map of county unemployment rates, at non-seasonally adjusted numbers. (As of this story's publishing, the most recent data was May of 2014, one month behind.)

Jobs numbers in the northern and east-central portions of the state lagged behind many other areas.

The counties of Clearwater (10.5 percent unemployment) and Koochiching (9.1 percent) had the highest jobless levels. Kanabec County came in at 7.6 percent, while Aitkin, Cass, Hubbard, Itasca, Mille Lacs and Pine all sat above 6 percent.

Demographics

According to the most recent demographic data (March of 2014), the unemployment rate among blacks and Hispanics/Latinos remained much higher. While the white unemployment rate hovered just above 4 percent, Hispanic/Latino unemployment measured close to 8 percent, and unemployment for blacks hit about 13 percent.

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