Minn. jobless rates ticks down to 5.2%; temp jobs hit record high in Juneby Annie Baxter, Minnesota Public Radio,
Bill Catlin, Minnesota Public Radio
ST. PAUL, Minn. — Employers in Minnesota added a net 400 jobs to payrolls in June.
Job growth in the private sector was largely offset by losses in government employment, and the state's unemployment rate fell slightly to 5.2 percent over the course of the month.
Steve Hine heads Minnesota's labor market information office. He said a slowdown in state export growth could be hurting manufacturing. Durable goods, such as machinery products, he said, are sensitive to trade conditions.
Meanwhile, the professional and business services sector is experiencing record growth. Employment in that sector of the economy, which largely consists of temporary help jobs, climbed to an all-time record high of about 68,000 jobs in June. That marked an increase of 14 percent compared to the same month last year.
Hine said temp help jobs usually surge right after a recession, as employers hustle to increase staffing. Hine said it's unusual that those jobs are taking off a few years into the economic recovery.
"I'm hopeful that it's indicative that employers are finding a need to quickly ramp up staffing," he said.
But it may not signal a sharp increase in demand for workers. Hine said instead, it could be that employers are relying more heavily on temporary staffing as a way to avoid hiring permanent workers.
At the same time, he said, the factory sector is suffering after posting strong gains out of the recession.
"Manufacturing has reappeared as the area of primary concern here. A couple years ago, we were talking about manufacturing being the fastest-growing sector in our economy," he said. "Now the sector's lost jobs during eight of the last 12 months."
The numbers released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development include an upward revision in total employment for May of 1,900 additional jobs.
However, the jobless rate fell not because more people are employed but primarily because of people giving up on job hunting.
The state's jobless rate is at its lowest reading since May 2008. The U.S. unemployment rate in June was unchanged at 7.6 percent.
Minnesota's private sector employers added 2,500 positions in June, which was largely offset by a loss of 2,100 government sector jobs.
The revision to May's report brought that month's tally from 8,400 additional jobs to a robust 10,300.
Over the past year, the state's 2 percent rate of job growth outpaced the U.S. average of 1.7 percent.
"The Minnesota economy continues to improve, with the unemployment rate reaching a post-recessionary low point and private sector employers adding 2,500 jobs in June," said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben. "We have now recovered 95 percent of the jobs that were lost in the recession."
Industries with growing employment in June include:
• Professional and business services (+ 3,600)
• Trade, transportation and utilities (+1,900)
• Leisure and hospitality (+1,400)
• Logging and mining (+200)
• Education and health services (+100)
Industries reporting job losses last month include:
• Government (- 2,100)
• Financial activities (- 1,200)
• Construction (- 1,000)
• Manufacturing (- 1,000)
• Information (- 900)
• Other services (- 600)
Annie Baxter is a senior business reporter at MPR.