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Three Steps Forward, One Step Back

6/16/2017 9:00:00 AM

Minnesota’s labor markets took a step back in May with a 7,200 job decline.

But the previous three-month lead-up brought an additional 28,200 jobs before May’s decline. And April’s job gain was revised upward from 15,100 to 16,400.

The private sector’s increase of 27,600 jobs in February, March and April was (1) the largest three-month increase in 12 years, and (2) the third largest on record (since 1990).

Construction continued its six-month pattern of monthly gains followed by smaller losses. Construction has added 25,300 jobs, seasonally unadjusted, since January, a total for the four-month span that has been exceeded once (in 2004) and matched once (in 2000) in the past 28 years. The irregular employment changes result from the timing of seasonal hiring rather than sporadic weakness, although building construction, including residential, continues to be down over a year ago.

Other services and leisure and hospitality, were the two sectors that reached all-time highs in May despite the overall loss. Gains in other services were driven by a spike in jobs in the area that includes social and civic organizations. This pushed the sector above 120,000 for the first time ever.

Professional and business services shed jobs after experiencing very strong gains the previous two months, with the weakness mostly coming from professional and technical services. The second consecutive month of strong increases in employment services put that area back up over the year (by 3.5 percent) after having been down since September 2016. Employment at corporate headquarters topped 80,000 in May for the first time ever.

Losses in government employment were concentrated in local government, where public school jobs continue to slow. The annual growth in these jobs has persistently declined over the past school year, beginning at 3.6 percent last September and reaching 2.2 percent in May. State government jobs have been off since December 2016.

Trade, transportation and utilities suffered losses for the third consecutive month. Many losses resulted from the decline of department stores.

Manufacturing turned in its fourth consecutive monthly gain with 2,900 jobs. Although this isn’t over-the-top spectacular, it’s the best performance over that time horizon in nearly 2½ years. Over the past year, all manufacturing growth has been with non-durables, where annual job growth of 3.2 percent is at a level last reported in the summer of 1995.

DEED examines the unemployment rate by demographics (race, age and gender) and looks at alternative measures of unemployment.

Read the complete news release.

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