by Nick Dobbins
Monthly analysis is based on unadjusted employment data.
Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)
Employment in the Minneapolis-St. Paul MSA was down in December as the metro lost 6,274 jobs (0.3 percent) before seasonal adjustment. As is to be expected in the winter, losses were led by the Mining, Logging, and Construction supersector, which shed 7,901 jobs (10.6 percent). Professional and Business Services also saw significant declines, dropping 3,911 jobs (1.2 percent) on the month. Educational and Health Services saw the largest numerical gains in December, adding 1,993 jobs (0.6 percent). Annually, the metro area added 34,256 jobs (1.8 percent) with more supersectors than not showing growth. Exceptions included Trade, Transportation, and Utilities, which lost 3,486 jobs (1 percent) in December with both trade sectors shedding employment. Trade, Transportation, and Utilities has now lost employment over the year in back-to-back months after seeing no annual job losses since 2010. Educational and Health Services maintained strong over-the-year growth in spite of its monthly losses, adding 13,166 (4.3 percent) from December 2014. Leisure and Hospitality had the fastest annual expansion with its 8,394 additional jobs representing 4.9 percent growth. While that growth was spread among component industries, the lion’s share came from the Food Services and Drinking Places subsector which added 6,191 jobs (4.8 percent).
The Duluth-Superior MSA lost 1,075 jobs (0.8 percent) in December. Unsurprisingly, most of that loss came from Mining, Logging, and Construction (down 765 or 8 percent) which contains the highly seasonal construction industry as well as a decent amount of mining, an industry which has been in turmoil lately. Leisure and Hospitality, another industry where employment is often dictated by the weather, lost 274 jobs or 2.1 percent, giving it the second steepest decline for the month. Annually, Duluth added 687 jobs (0.5 percent). Educational and Health Services (up 508 jobs or 1.6 percent) and Government (up 215, 0.8 percent) led the growth. Trade, Transportation, and Utilities had the biggest annual losses, down 328 jobs (1.2 percent) thanks in large part to plummeting employment in Retail Trade which lost 330 jobs (2.1 percent).
Employment in the Rochester MSA was down in December as the area lost 720 jobs (0.3 percent) with the usual winter suspects largely responsible for the decline. The monthly performance was enough to push employment into the red on an over-the-year basis as well, with the metro area shedding 318 jobs (0.3 percent) since December 2014 after showing annual growth in November. Professional and Business Services had the steepest drop, losing 345 jobs (5.9 percent) over the year. Government employers also saw some precipitous declines, off 112 jobs (0.9 percent) from December 2014.
St. Cloud MSA
The St. Cloud metropolitan statistical area showed modest growth in December, adding 107 jobs (0.1 percent). It was the only one of the seven Minnesota MSAs to add jobs for the month. Financial Activities employment grew by 277 (5.7 percent), and Educational and Health Services added 179 jobs (0.8 percent), while Mining, Logging, and Construction lost 337 jobs (5.6 percent). In spite of its good December, St. Cloud lost 146 jobs (0.1 percent) over the year. A decline of 456 jobs (2 percent), driven by the loss of 679 jobs (4.9 percent) in Retail Trade, was largely responsible for the annual job losses.
Mankato-North Mankato MSA
Employment in the Mankato-North Mankato MSA was down by 124 jobs (0.2 percent) in December. Private employers lost 100 jobs (0.2 percent) while Government lost 24 (0.3 percent). Service providers added 164 jobs (0.4 percent), but that was erased by the loss of 288 jobs (2.8 percent) from goods producers. Employment remains just barely up over the year in Mankato with the MSA holding on to 76 more jobs (0.1 percent) than it had in December of 2014.
Employment in the Fargo-Moorhead MSA was generally flat in December as the area lost just 15 jobs (0.0 percent) from November estimates. The most notable job losses occurred in Mining, Logging, and Construction (down 848 or 9.3 percent) and Educational and Health Services (down 145, 0.7 percent). Trade, Transportation, and Utilities added 290 jobs (0.9 percent) on the strength of an additional 356 jobs (2.1 percent) in Retail Trade as the holiday shopping season reached its peak. Annually, the area added 1,607 jobs (1.1 percent). Leisure and Hospitality added 856 jobs (5.8 percent) while Government employment grew by 704 (3.7 percent).
Grand Forks-East Grand Forks MSA
Employment in the Grand Forks-East Grand Forks MSA dipped by 778 jobs (1.3 percent) in December. While Mining, Logging, and Construction had the biggest proportional decline (down 279 or 7.7 percent), the biggest actual job loss came from the Government supersector which dropped 377 jobs (2.6 percent) in December thanks to a sharp decline of 285 (3.8 percent) in State Government employment. Over the year the Grand Forks area added 663 jobs (1.1 percent). Mining, Logging, and Construction employment exploded in 2015, adding 369 jobs (12.5 percent) while Government employment shrank, losing 348 jobs (2.4 percent), thanks again to a decline in State Government employment (down 297, 4 percent).