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Minnesota loses jobs in July; unemployment rate stays steady

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Minnesota lost 4,200 jobs in July, but the state's unemployment rate remained unchanged for the month at 4.5 percent, according to seasonally adjusted figures released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

"July’s employment change appears disappointing, however, this is the smallest percentage decline in jobs for a July since 1999," DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben said in a news release. "Minnesota’s economic indicators remain positive, and underlying employment data continue to look strong."

Minnesota’s unemployment rate is still better than the national average, which was 6.2 percent for July, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported earlier this month. The national rate was little changed from the month before.

The largest July gains came in trade, transportation and utilities, which added 1,600 jobs. Manufacturing (up 700), leisure and hospitality (up 600) and "other services" (up 200) also added jobs. DEED notes logging and mining, and professional and business services held steady.

However, several sectors lost a significant number of jobs. Education and health service jobs were down 5,300, which is the most on record. DEED says this drop was driven by job cuts in private education.

Other areas that lost jobs include: information (down 1,000), construction (down 700), financial activities (down 200) and government (down 100).

Over the past 12 months, Minnesota has gained 68,344 jobs, a 2.5 percent growth rate, compared with a U.S. growth rate of 1.9 percent during that period, according to a news release.

Click here for a breakdown of unemployment rates by state and month.

DEED officials said Thursday 3,600 fewer jobs were added in June than the previously reported 8,500. Last month, officials said the state added jobs, which pushed the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to a seven-year low of 4.5 percent. It was the state’s second consecutive month of “strong job growth,” DEED says, after solid numbers in May.

Both major political parties are using job figures in their campaigns for the upcoming election.

The Associated Press notes Democrats say the dropping unemployment rate along with job growth points to an improved economy, while Republicans argue that too many people are in positions beneath their pay and skill level.

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