Minnesota unemployment rate drops

By KBJR News 1

April 17, 2014 Updated Apr 17, 2014 at 7:22 PM CDT

Minnesota (NNCNOW.com) --- After gaining 2,600 jobs in March, Minnesota's unemployment rate is at 4.8%.

State officials are cautiously optimistic about this figure.

While the state is up 33,000 jobs over its pre-recession peak, the Department of Employment and Economic Development says we need twice that number to enter what they call a full employment situation.

On the positive side, Minnesota gained 1,500 jobs in healthcare, and 200 jobs in manufacturing.

For the record, that's the sixth consecutive month of gains in manufacturing.

Some of the largest growth in the state happened in Saint Cloud and Mankato.

While DEED officials thought this winter would adversely impact seasonal sectors like construction, that very sector experienced the largest unadjusted gain in March since 1990.

"So construction overall and the specialty trades, in particular, are up over a year ago by their highest rates on record: 11.1% in construction, and 13.8% in specialty trades," said Steve Hine, DEED research director.

On the down side, 2,500 of the 2,700 state job losses in March occurred in the food services sector.

Retail trade is also struggling, with a loss of 1,800 jobs in March after 5,300 jobs were lost in the first two months of 2014.

Wisconsin gained 6,400 private sector jobs in March.

Elsa Robins