Minnesota employers add 14,000 jobs in Octoberby Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Employers in Minnesota added 14,100 jobs in October, the latest sign that the state's economy is starting to recover, officials at the state Department of Employment and Economic Development said Thursday.
DEED Commissioner Dan McElroy said employers in Minnesota have added more than 42,000 jobs in the past year, which is triple the pace of the national job growth rate in the past year.
But McElroy and Steve Hine, state labor market analyst, said it's unclear why Minnesota's unemployment rate has stayed relatively flat. In October, it was up one tenth of a percentage point over the previous month at 7.1 percent. The national unemployment rate was 9.6 percent.
Hine said the job growth numbers give a more accurate picture of what's going on.
Professional and business services added the most jobs of any sector in October with 6,500. That sector includes employment services, so the job increase is a "strong sign of improved demand for labor," Hine said.
Leisure and hospitality, an area Hine said is sensitive to consumer discretionary spending, added 2,300 jobs.
"Any sign that consumers are able to start spending again is a good one," he said, adding that the sector is near historically high employment levels.
Job gains were also seen in trade, transportation and utilities, other services, education and health services, government, financial activities, mining and logging and information.
The construction and manufacturing sectors lost 2,300 jobs each last month.
For manufacturing, which has seen overall gains, Hine said one month of job losses isn't concerning. And he said it will take time to see construction job gains.
McElroy said one hopeful sign for the construction sector is that the American Institute of Architects is reporting more activity, according to a billing survey the institute conducts.
"It gives us some hope that project and sponsors are spending money on architects," McElroy said.
Other evidence that more jobs are available in Minnesota comes from a study by the Conference Board of job listings, which showed 3,600 more job postings for Minnesota in the past month. The state's job listing website also showed an increase.
Hine said the discrepancies between the unemployment rate and job gains has to do with the fact that the numbers come from two different sources -- the unemployment rate is determined from a household survey while the number of jobs comes from a payroll survey from companies. There could be problems with the modeling of the data, Hine said.
"The trends in the household survey data, I'm afraid, are just not in line with all the other evidence that we're seeing," he said.
Also Thursday, officials revised September's job data, which had shown 9,900 job losses. Instead, there were 5,700 job losses in September.
- All Things Considered, 11/18/2010, 5:23 p.m.