Minnesota adds 10200 jobs, as employers power through shortage of workers


Minnesota employers added 10,200 jobs in May, the biggest gain this year, and the state’s unemployment rate fell to 3.1 percent, the lowest since July 2000.

The hiring spree marked a turnaround from April, when the state’s employers cut 3,800 jobs. Even with the rebound, they are adding jobs at a slower pace this year than they did last year, in part due to a shortage of workers.

“Minnesota bounced back with its strongest month of job gains in more than a year, following weather-related delays in new hiring in April,” Shawntera Hardy, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, said in a statement.

“Businesses are continuing to add employees, despite a tightening labor market,” she added.

Analysts at DEED wondered whether the April performance reflected a permanent effect of the worker shortage. Minnesota since last year has had more people looking for worker than job vacancies, a condition the U.S. as a whole reached last month.

But the big jump in May is a sign that Minnesota employers are still able to find people. Of the 10,200 new jobs, 9,900 were in the private sector with the other 300 hired by government agencies.

For the 12 months ending May 30, Minnesota added 29,188 jobs, a growth rate of 1 percent. The U.S. added jobs at a rate of 1.7 percent over that same period. For much of last year, Minnesota added jobs at a faster rate than the nation as a whole but it has been below the national rate for all of 2018.

The labor market is so tight in Minnesota, DEED noted, that if the number of unemployed people seeking jobs falls by another 10,000, the state’s unemployment rate will dip to 2.5 percent, the lowest on record and reached only briefly in the late 1990s.

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That would leave the labor force of around 3 million Minnesotans to grow only through preventing retirements or attracting new people who aren’t looking for jobs to seek them.

Last month’s job additions were led by companies in the professional and business services sector. Leisure and hospitality businesses were next, followed by construction firms.

The education and health services sector, which for much of the last two years has added the most jobs, was the only one of 11 sectors measured by DEED to experience a loss of jobs.

Black and Hispanic workers continued to see gains. Black unemployment, on a 12-month average that included May, was 6.1 percent, an all-time low. Labor force participation for black Minnesotans was 73.6 percent.

Hispanic unemployment was 4.4 percent with a labor force participation rate of 75.7 percent. White unemployment was 2.6 percent with a labor force participation rate of 71.5 percent.

 

 

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