Minnesota's job market bounces back in Julyby Annie Baxter, Minnesota Public Radio,
Bill Catlin, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Minnesota's job market bounced back in dramatic fashion in July.
The state's employers added 10,300 jobs last month.
Minnesota's jobless rate fell from 8.4 percent in June to 8.1 percent in July. That's well below the national rate of 9.4 percent.
Minnesota Public Radio's Job Pain Index, a gauge of the difficulty of finding a job in the state, fell 24 percent from 7.5 in June to 5.7 in July.
See MPR's Job Pain Index for more details.
State officials welcomed the news.
"This is good news. There's no doubt about that," said state economist Tom Stinson.
Even some of the hardest hit industrial sectors showed job gains.
Employment in the construction sector, which was devastated by the meltdown in the housing sector, increased by 700 jobs.
The manufacturing sector, added 1,700 jobs.
Dan McElroy, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, said the manufacturing sector saw gains in some previously hard-hit areas, such as wood products manufacturing.
"Other strength in manufacturing included fabricated metals and machine shops," McElroy said. "Transportation equipment, which includes things like snowmobiles, ATVs and truck trailers showed a slight improvement. The food industry -- food processors, meat and poultry -- also showed some improvement."
Eight of the state's 11 industrial sectors saw employment gains.
But Stinson cautions the good news is "tempered."
He said the July figures should be considered along with employment numbers from May and June.
"If you look at it that way, what you see is that we've averaged a loss of 4,000 jobs a month over the past three months," Stinson said. "That's not good, but on the other hand, it's a lot better than what we were seeing in the 9 months or 12 months prior to that."
First-time claims for jobless benefits resulting from permanent layoffs continued to decline in July from a high of 28,018 in February. July saw 24,639 of those claims.
Stinson said some of the improvement in Minnesota's labor market can be attributed to the federal stimulus program, but he said it's hard to determine how much credit the program deserves.
- All Things Considered, 08/20/2009, 5:51 p.m.
Annie Baxter started her radio trajectory answering the phones at a pledge drive at KQED, San Francisco's NPR member station, and managed to wriggle her way into an internship soon thereafter.