The Free Press, Mankato, MN

May 17, 2013

State loses jobs, but unemployment rate down

The Mankato Free Press

---- — Statewide unemployment numbers dropped, but the state also lost 11,000 jobs in April, according to the state’s Labor Market Information office research director.

Steve Hine kicked off his monthly briefing with media with a frank assessment of the state’s job numbers.

“We had a pretty bad month in April,” Hine said. “The state shed another 11,000 on top of another 3,300 jobs in March.”

The Mankato region’s performance for April was slightly off, as well. Employment in the Mankato-North Mankato Metropolitan Statistical Area declined .2 percent over the month. But it increased 1.4 percent over the year.

The state says declines were driven by the private “service-providing employment as the government decline of .5 percent was balanced out by gains of .7 percent in goods-producing.”

Over the last few months, the Mankato MSA has seen a trend of dropping unemployment. In March the rate was 4.8 percent. In February, 5.1 percent. For Mankato specifically, the numbers are 4.9 percent in March and 5.3 percent in February.

Hine said a big reason for some of the declines has been the wacky spring we’ve had.

Construction jobs, especially, have lagged as contractors have had to wait for snow to melt to get to work in some cases.

There is some reason to optimism.

Hine said the average work week fell a tenth of an hour in April and the number of new claims for unemployment benefits fell.

— Robb Murray