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Unemployment rate stays at 3.7 percent, but MN employers cut jobs in January

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The unemployment rate in Minnesota remained steady in January, but there were fewer jobs to go around as state employers eliminated 7,900 positions during the month.

The delayed January figures from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development showed the unemployment rate stood at a seasonally-adjusted 3.7 percent in January. The national unemployment rate was 5.7 percent.

The rate in December was also 3.7 percent (after being revised up from 3.6 percent), but the number of employed people in Minnesota has actually fallen, to 2.82 million in January compared to 2.83 million in December.

But what will be of more concern to state officials is the lack of new jobs being created.

The state lost 7,900 jobs in January, and over the past year there were 36,124 new jobs created. This represents growth of 1.3 percent, but is well down on the U.S. job growth rate of 2.4 percent in the same period.

Minnesota's unemployment rate could take a further hit in the coming months, given the news from Target on Tuesday that 1,700 jobs were being cut and 1,400 open positions scrapped.

Where are jobs being created and lost?

The DEED figures show most of the new jobs created in January came in the professional and business services industry, where 2,200 new positions opened up, followed by education and health services (+1,500), and leisure and hospitality (+200).

But jobs were lost in trade, transportation and utilities, which was down 6,000 positions, as well as construction (-1,700), information (-1,400), manufacturing (-1,100) and government (-900).

Mankato gained the most jobs during the month, with new positions rising by 2.1 percent, while job growth rose 1.7 percent in the Twin Cities.

The DEED website now includes a section that examines unemployment disparities based on race, age and gender, which confirms a report last week that showed the unemployment rate among black people is almost four times higher than white people in the state.

The data also shows the unemployment rate among 16 to 19-year-olds is significantly higher than for other adults.

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