Minnesota gained 5,300 jobs in March as the state’s unemployment rate dipped to 3.8 percent, down from 4 percent the previous month, the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) reported Thursday.
The jobs gain from February was also revised upward, from an initial estimate of 3,800 to 6,200 jobs.
Over the past year, the state’s employers have added 48,162 jobs, up 1.7 percent over the period. The U.S. job growth rate was 1.5 percent. It was the first time in almost three years that local job growth beat the national numbers.
“We’ve been lagging the nation in that over-the-year growth rate,” Steve Hine, a labor market analyst for the state, said in an interview. “We had one month in July of 2014 when we leaped above the nation. … Maybe this will turn out to be a one-month aberration as well, but it’s been quite some time since we have exceeded the nation in growth rate terms.”
The gains pushed Minnesota’s private sector to more than 2.5 million jobs, the most in state history. “Surpassing 2.5 million private sector jobs is a wonderful achievement and is a fitting testament to businesses large and small all across the state,” DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy said in a statement. “Minnesota’s economy continues to move in the right direction.”
Professional and business services paced the March uptick, adding 4,900 jobs; leisure and hospitality added 2,500 jobs.
Trade, transportation and utilities lost 2,500 jobs; education and health services lost 1,400; construction saw a decline of 900 jobs. Government jobs remained steady.
Over the past year, education and health services gained the most jobs, up 17,413. The lone sector losing jobs during the past 12 months: leisure and hospitality, down 1,387.
The Twin Cities metro area has seen jobs increase by 2.1 percent over the past year; St. Cloud is up 1 percent; Duluth-Superior is up 0.8 percent and Rochester has seen a 0.5 percent gain. Mankato is off 0.3 percent from a year ago, according to Thursday’s state report.