The Free Press, Mankato, MN

September 19, 2013

Jobs grow by 1.5 percent locally


The Mankato Free Press

---- — MANKATO — Employment rose 1.5 percent in August compared to last year in the greater Mankato area.

There were 52,133 jobs in the Mankato-North Mankato Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Blue Earth and Nicollet counties.

That's an increase of 400 jobs year over year.

The important goods-producing sector added 2.4 percent to its employment locally, while government employment rose 1.2 percent.

The growth rate was not as high as the state figure of 2.7 percent. St. Cloud posted a 2.2 percent gain while Rochester had a 0.1 percent rise.

Minnesota employers added 12,200 jobs in August, pushing total jobs in the state over the pre-recessionary peak that was reached in February 2008, according to figures released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

The agency said Minnesota has now recovered all the jobs that were lost in the recession, eclipsing the February 2008 mark by 5,100 jobs. The state has added 63,100 jobs in the past year, a 2.3 percent growth rate that exceeds the national rate of 1.7 percent.

The state unemployment rate dropped 0.1 percent in August to a seasonally adjusted 5.1 percent, the lowest level since April 2008. The U.S. unemployment rate in August was 7.3 percent.

“August’s employment numbers mark a major milestone in the recovery of Minnesota’s economy,” DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben said in a statement. “We’ve now recovered all of the jobs lost during the recession, which is one of many positive indicators pointing to continued economic growth.”

The following industrial sectors gained jobs last month: trade, transportation and utilities (up 6,000), education and health care (up 5,500), other services (up 2,300), government (up 1,900), construction (up 1,100), leisure and hospitality (up 700), and financial activities (up 100). Logging and mining held steady.

Manufacturing lost 3,400 jobs, followed by professional and business services (down 1,100) and information (down 900).

Trade, transportation and utilities led all sectors over the past year, adding 18,300 jobs. Other over-the-year gains occurred in education and health services (up 13,100), professional and business services (up 10,200), leisure and hospitality (up 9,400), government (up 9,000), other services (up 2,800), construction (up 2,700), financial activities (up 1,900), information (up 400), and logging and mining (up 400).

The only sector statewide to lose jobs over the past year was manufacturing (down 5,100).