Minnesota’s unemployment rate remained steady at 4.0 percent for the seventh consecutive month in February. Both the labor force participation rate and the employment to population ratio ticked up one-tenth of a percentage point to 69.5 and 66.7 percent respectively.
The national unemployment rate ticked down one-tenth of one percentage point to 4.7 percent in February.
Annual job gains in Minnesota totaled 39,564 in February, over the year, for an annual growth rate of 1.4 percent. Minnesota’s private sector added 35,853 jobs over the year, up 1.5 percent. Meanwhile, U.S. job growth stood at 1.7 percent and 1.8 percent for the private sector over the year in February.
Information (down 185 jobs), Professional & Business Services (down 286 jobs) and Leisure & Hospitality (down 1,966 jobs) joined Manufacturing (down 748 jobs) as sectors with annual job declines.
Logging & Mining (up 886 jobs), Construction (up 6,101 jobs), Education & Health Care (up 16,534 jobs), Other Services (up 3,346 jobs), and Financial Activities (up 3,465 jobs) were all up over last year by at least 2 percent.
Minnesota outpaces the nation in annual growth in five of the 11 sectors, Logging & Mining, Construction, Trade, Transportation & Utilities, Education & Health Services and Other Services, and matches the nation in Government.
Minnesota gained 3,800 jobs over the month in February on a seasonally adjusted basis, up 0.1 percent. Private sector employers added 6,200 jobs while Government lost 2,400 jobs over the month.
Trade, Transportation & Utilities had its largest monthly gain in nearly 20 years with much of the strength in retail trade, which added 4,100 of the 5,700 jobs over the month. Construction added 4,500 jobs over the month, bringing it to its highest level of jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis since March 2007, now just under 10,000 shy of the all-time high of 132,000 achieved in February 2006. Manufacturing added 900 jobs in durable and 200 in non-durable goods manufacturing over the month.
Five of the 11 major industry sectors lost jobs during the month. Professional & Business Services lost jobs for the second month in a row, producing its first annual decline since March 2010. Much of the lost in this sector was in employment services - mostly temp help. Government also lost jobs for the second month in a row. All three sectors lost jobs but the largest loss was in local government, which shed 4,000 of the 5,100 jobs over the two months. The loss in Leisure & Hospitality, which follows a gain in January, may be in part due to a delay in post-holiday cut-backs.
U.S. employment overall and in the private sector grew by 0.2 percent over the month in February.