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MANKATO — Local employers added 901 jobs in April, boosting employment by 1.6 percent year over year.

Once again, the high-paying manufacturing jobs grew even faster, by 2.2 percent in April.

The job numbers for the Mankato-North Mankato Metropolitan Statistical Area (all of Blue Earth and Nicollet counties) were released by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Wages locally rose to an average of $26.25 per hour compared to $23.92 a year earlier.

The local area has had the highest job growth among all metropolitan areas in the state for each month of 2018. Additionally, Greater Mankato is the only metropolitan area in Minnesota that experienced growth in all sectors of employment in April 2018.

“The job growth our employers have created this year continues to be a key indicator for the strengths of our regional economy,” Jonathan Zierdt, president and CEO of Greater Mankato Growth, said in a statement. “In comparison to other metropolitan areas in our state, we appear to be gaining more momentum from a variety of our talent development and recruitment efforts including such initiatives as the More Mankato campaign and website.”

In the other Metropolitan Statistical Areas, most gained jobs: Minneapolis-St. Paul (up 0.7 percent), Duluth-Superior (up 0.4 percent), St. Cloud (up 0.4 percent). Rochester was down 0.6 percent.

The Minnesota unemployment rate held steady at 3.2 percent in April. The U.S. unemployment rate in April was 3.9 percent.

Minnesota added 11,659 jobs over the past year, an increase of 0.4 percent compared to April of 2017.

Other services led all sectors last month statewide with 1,400 new jobs, followed by financial activities (up 1,200), manufacturing (up 900) and government (up 200). Information and the logging and mining sector held steady.

The following industries lost jobs in April: leisure and hospitality (down 3,600), trade, transportation and utilities (down 2,000), professional and business services (down 700), construction (down 400) and education and health services (down 200).

Over the past year, government led all sectors with 6,297 new jobs. Other industries gaining jobs in the past 12 months were education and health services (up 6,097), manufacturing (up 4,715), trade, transportation and utilities (up 1,254) and financial activities (up 873).

Five industries lost jobs in the past 12 months: leisure and hospitality (down 3,314), construction (down 1,627), professional and business services (down 1,352), information (down 789) and other services (down 388).

Follow Tim Krohn on Twitter @TimKrohn

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