Minnesota loses 8,600 net jobs in May, unemployment rises to 2.8%

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After several months of job growth, Minnesota employers pulled back in May, with the state losing 8,600 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis, the state’s Department of Employment and Economic Development said in a release Friday. The state’s unemployment rate ticked up one-tenth of a percentage point to 2.8%.

Minnesota has gained jobs nine out of the past 12 months.

DEED also noted the state labor force participation rate remained at 68% in May. This measures the portion of the population either working or actively seeking work and is used to calculate the headline unemployment rate.

“We’ll be keeping a close eye on job and labor force growth. We continue to believe that job growth, particularly in certain sectors, is constrained by a lack of available workers with necessary skills,” said DEED Commissioner Matt Varilek in the release. “DEED and our agency partners continue to reach out to Minnesotans looking for work to help them prepare for in-demand employment.”

Nationally, the unemployment rate ticked up one-tenth of a percentage point to 4% in May.

Minnesota’s private sector lost 9,800 jobs, down 0.4% over the month. Sectors in Minnesota that gained jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis included Education & Health Services, up 2,800 jobs, and Government up 1,200 jobs. Four sectors in Minnesota lost jobs over the month, including Professional & Business Services, down 9,300 jobs, and Manufacturing down 3,700 jobs.

Minnesota wage growth is outpacing inflation as well as national wage growth, DEED said. Average hourly wages for all private sector workers in Minnesota increased 14 cents, to $37.12, in May. Over the year average hourly earnings increased $1.92, up 5.5%. The Consumer Price Index, a common measure of inflation, rose 3.3% over the year in May.

So far year, Minnesota has gained 34,950 payroll jobs, up 1.2%. Minnesota’s private sector gained 12,079 jobs, up 0.5%. Overall U.S. employment grew 1.8% over the year with the private sector up 1.6%.

By race, the unemployment rate for Black Minnesotans in May was 3.9%; for Hispanics 3.6%; white Minnesotans 2.5%; Asians 1.9%, and Native American Minnesotans 8.3%.

A broader measure of joblessness, called the U-6, was 5.4% in May, unchanged from April. This measure factors in people who have voluntarily left the labor force, are not actively seeking work, are underemployed, marginally employed or working part-time while seeking full-time employment.

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