Monday, December 28, 2009

Minnesota unemployment rate falls slightly on job growth’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate fell two-tenths of 1 percent in November to 7.4 percent, a bit of promising news that reflected a growth in jobs including those in the construction industry.

The state’s jobless rate in November was 2.6 percentage points below the U.S. unemployment rate of 10 percent, according to figures released Thursday by the state Department of Employment and Economic Development.

DEED officials said Minnesota employers added 2,000 jobs in November. October’s job gains were also revised upward to 5,000 from 2,200.

“State labor markets continue to show signs of improvement,” DEED Commissioner Dan McElroy said in a statement. “We are also seeing a steady uptick in the average amount of hours worked, another sign of strengthening market conditions. I am optimistic about the positive trend of this employment data, but economic recovery is still in its early stages.”

Despite November’s good news, Minnesota’s unemployment rate is higher than 6.1 percent jobless rate posted the same month a year ago and higher than when it hovered between 3 and 5 percent during much of this decade.

McElroy said whether you believe the recession is over depends on your perspective. A number of economists have said that technically the downturn is over but for scores of jobless workers, the recession still seems present.

“There are still a lot of people looking for jobs,” McElroy said. “From a workforce center or Main street viewpoint, it (the recession) is not over.”

DEED reported that trade, transportation and utilities posted the biggest gain in jobs from October to November, adding 2,600 positions, with particular strength in the retail sector.

The construction industry also showed an uptick in employment, adding 1,200 jobs between October and November. But in a telephone press conference, McElroy said that nearly all of that gain came from heavy highway construction activity.

Other sectors posting job growth from October to November included professional and business services (up 1,700), manufacturing (up 800), financial activities (up 400), and logging and mining (up 200).

In Minnesota the average hours worked by employees has increased from 32.2 hours in September to 32.6 in October and 33.1 in November. Next to the unemployment rate, McElroy called the length of the average work week a key employment indicator.

The slight increase during the past two months in the average work is significant because altogether it represents several million of additional work hours across the state, McElroy said.

Meanwhile, during the past year, Minnesota has lost about 83,900 positions or 3 percent of its jobs while the U.S. lost about 3.4 percent of its jobs during the same period. .

During the past year, education and health services has added 8,300 jobs in the state.

But job losses have occurred in several categories during the last year including manufacturing (down 36,500), professional and business services (17,600), trade, transportation and utilities (15,600), construction (6,000), government (5,000), information (3,000), leisure and hospitality (3,000), and financial activities (600).

taken from:
Finance and Commerce

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