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April’s Winter Weather Versus Tighter Labor Market

5/23/2018 10:00:00 AM

Minnesota’s unemployment rate for April remained a steady 3.2 percent although the state lost 3,200 jobs.

The March figures were revised from 2,900 jobs gained to 400. Over the past year, the state has gained 11,659 jobs, an increase of 0.4 percent.

Sector details:

  • Manufacturing continued a strong start to 2018 by gaining 900 (+0.3%) seasonally adjusted over-the-month jobs in April over March. Minnesota’s over-the-month growth rate in manufacturing of 0.3% was higher than the US average of 0.2%. More good news: The March preliminary over-the-month employment growth of +1,500 (+0.5%) was revised upward to +1,600 (+0.5%). The months of February, March and April registered the longest streak of impressive over-the-month gains since December 2014. Durable Goods manufacturing and Non-durable manufacturing had the most job gains.
  • Leisure and hospitality posted a small job loss of 700 (-0.3%) in March but a large adjusted over-the-month job loss of 3,600 jobs in April, with April representing a -1.3% decline. Minnesota did not fare worse than the national average. And Minnesota has had significant growth in half of the months in 2018 thus far.
  • Education and health services stagnated in April over March, and lost 200 seasonally adjusted over-the-month jobs (0.0% growth rate). The US over-the-month growth rate was only 0.1%. All the over-the-month job loss came from Educational Services (-800); Health Care and Social Assistance gained 600 jobs.

A quick read of unofficial estimates from the Current Population Survey reveals how these tightening labor market conditions are improving the employment conditions for Minnesota’s black population. In April, the 12-month average unemployment rate for blacks fell to 6.8% (from 7.0% in March). While this remains well above the comparable rate for whites at 2.7%, we’ve hit another all-time low (dating back to 2000) for this population.

The labor force participation rate for blacks also increased again to 73.0 percent – well up from the comparable rate of 65 percent a year ago – and 1.5 points higher than the rate for whites. Considering this increasing rate of participation, the continued decline in unemployment is even more notable.

Here are the numbers.

Metropolitan Statistical Areas

All regions except Rochester registered unadjusted over-the-year growth:

  • Minneapolis-St. Paul MSA (up 0.7 percent)
  • Duluth-Superior MSA (up 0.4 percent)
  • Rochester MSA (up -0.6 percent)
  • St. Cloud MSA (up 0.4 percent)
  • Mankato MSA (up 1.6 percent)

How Gender Pay Varies in Northwest

In 2018, WalletHub concluded that Minnesota is the best state for women to live and work. Despite the recognition, an obstinate gender pay gap exists across the state.

According to data from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey, the unadjusted earnings ratio in Minnesota, or women's earnings as a percent of men's, was approximately 72 percent in 2016. By industry, the earnings ratio ranges from 51 percent in the agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting sector to 89 percent in real estate, rental and leasing.

Overall, the gender pay gap is even larger in Northwest Minnesota, where the earnings ratio was approximately 66.4 percent in 2016. However, there are many ways to examine this. Industry sector, hours worked, level of education, and occupation can each contribute to the gender pay gap, positively or negatively.

Among full-time, year-round workers in Northwest Minnesota, a gender pay gap exists in every regional industry, although it varies from sector to sector.

  • The Arts, Entertainment and Recreation industry had the smallest pay gap, where women earn approximately 97 percent of what men earn.
  • Women earn only 42 percent of what men do in mining, where the pay gap is over 10 percent larger than in any other industry.
  • The top three industries in terms of employment – Health Care and Social Assistance, Manufacturing, and Retail Trade – had the 4th, 11th and 7th largest gender pay gaps, respectively.

See the Northwest Region’s Local Look.

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