The Free Press, Mankato, MN

July 18, 2013

Area job growth skews upward

By Brian Ojanpa

---- — MANKATO —Job growth in the Mankato region and statewide continued its post-recession upward trend in June.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development reports that Minnesota's private sector added 2,500 jobs last month, contributing to a statewide job growth rate of 2 percent over the past year. The U.S. growth rate during that period was 1.7 percent.

In the Mankato-North Mankato Metropolitan Statistical Area, 400 jobs were added in June on top of the 639 jobs that were added in May.

The state's four other metro statistical regions reported similar job gains over last year with Minneapolis-St. Paul leading the way with a 2.9 percent increase.

The St. Cloud MSA had a 2.2 percent increase, the Mankato-North Mankato MSA had a 0.8 percent boost, the Rochester MSA growth rate was up 0.6 percent, and the Duluth-Superior MSA was up 0.4 percent.

"The Minnesota economy continues to improve, with the unemployment rate reaching a post-recessionary low point," DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben said. "We have now recovered 95 percent of the jobs that were lost in the recession."

The state's unemployment rated dipped to 5.2 percent in June while the U.S. rate remained unchanged at 7.6 percent.

Sieben said every major industrial sector has added job in the past year, and the state's unemployment rate is at a five-year low.

Statewide in June, professional and business services added 3,600 jobs to lead all sectors. Other gains occurred in trade, transportation and utilities; leisure and hospitality; logging and mining; and education and health services.

Job losses in June occurred in the sectors of government, financial, construction, manufacturing and information.