Unemployment numbers: Minnesota added 9,500 jobs last month

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Minnesota's unemployment rate held steady at a seasonally adjusted 4.6 percent for the last month of 2013, keeping the state's jobless rate well below the national average of 6.7 percent.

The Start Tribune reports that employers in the state added 9,500 jobs in December, according to figures released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. “December’s employment numbers closed out a strong year for the Minnesota labor market,” said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben in the department's statement.

Trade, transportation and utilities added 4,600 new jobs in December to lead all sectors. Other gains occurred in government (adding 2,600 new jobs), manufacturing (up 1,700), education and health services (up 1,200), professional and business services (up 1,000), construction (up 400), and logging and mining (up 100). Job losses occurred in December in leisure and hospitality (with 800 fewer jobs), other services (700 fewer), financial activities (down 500) and information (down 100).

The Mankato Free Press broke down the numbers for greater Mankato, noting that the area saw job growth in December of 0.7 percent compared to a year earlier. That puts employment for the area in December at its highest number since 2007.

MPR News reported that Minnesota employers added more than 21,000 jobs over the final quarter of last year. The state added a total of 45,900 new jobs in the past year. The jobs growth rate for 2013 was 1.7 percent, slightly ahead of the national rate of 1.6 percent.

A report from the Federal Reserve Bank from earlier this month predicted a 1.2 percent growth in employment for 2014. Economists projected that Minnesota’s unemployment rate would stand at 4.3 percent by the fourth quarter, with the addition of about 35,000 jobs this year.

A recent study by BMO Bank found that more than 90 percent of Minnesota business owners think both Minnesota’s economy will improve and their company will grow in 2014.

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