The Minnesota Index rose 0.2 percent for the 10th consecutive month in May, a sign that the Minnesota economy continues to expand but at a moderate rate. The U.S. index also rose 0.2 last month marking the fourth month in a row that the U.S. index climbed 0.2 percent. The Minnesota index has trailed the U.S. index in nine of the last 10 months, but the gap has been minimal in most months.
May’s index advance was held in check in Minnesota by flat wage and salary employment and a small uptick in the unemployment rate, increasing from 3.7 to 3.8 percent. The uptick in the unemployment rate was not all negative as the labor force increased by roughly 6,500 workers with household employment increasing 3,400 and unemployment increasing 3,100. Labor force participation in Minnesota reach 70.8 percent, the highest level since September 2011. Minnesota’s labor force participation rate is now 7.9 percentage points above the U.S. which is the highest gap since September 2009. The Minnesota index was up 2.7 percent over the last year while the U.S. index was up 3.3 over the same period.