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State unemployment rate drops to 4.6 percent

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Minnesota's jobless rate dipped again in November, from 4.8 percent in October to a seasonally adjusted 4.6 percent, according to new data released Thursday by the state Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

Minnesota has now gained 39,800 jobs over the past year, a growth rate of 1.4 percent, compared with a U.S. growth rate of 1.7 percent. But the state's unemployment rate is still considerably better than the U.S. rate of 7 percent in November, state officials said.

“The labor market continues to show steady improvement, with the number of unemployed Minnesotans now below pre-recessionary levels,” DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben said. “The state economy is growing and outperforming the rest of the country in many key categories.”

Minnesota employers eliminated 800 jobs in November, but that was offset by October figures that were revised upward by an additional 1,000 jobs, state officials said.

Private sector employment in the state last month climbed by 2,400 and was revised upward by another 2,300 jobs from October.

From the state release: Information led all sectors in November, gaining 1,300 jobs. Other gains occurred in financial activities (up 1,200), other services (up 1,100), manufacturing (up 400), construction (up 400), and leisure and hospitality (up 100). Logging and mining were unchanged.

Job losses occurred in government (down 3,200), professional and business services (down 1,600), trade, transportation and utilities (down 300), and education and health services (down 200).

In national news Thursday, the number of people who last week sought U.S. unemployment benefits rose 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 379,000, the highest since March, the Associated Press reported. The Labor Department reported that a less volatile four-week average jumped 13,250 to 343,250, a second straight increase, the AP noted.

And in other related news, the Labor Department on Thursday said total employment is projected to increase 10.8 percent, or 15.6 million, during the decade, with occupations and industries related to health care projected to add the most new jobs between 2012 and 2022.

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