Unemployment bright spot

The state has released its unemployment figures for July, and like the national figures (released a few weeks ago), it’s being hailed as a bright spot.

“Minnesota Employers Add 10,300 Jobs in July”, the press release’s headline from the Department of Employment and Economic Development said. The unemployment rate fell .3 percent in July, to 8.1 percent (seasonally adjusted).

235,167, however, are out of work in the state. That’s 17,000 fewer than June, according to the data, but it’s 6,000 more than May, when the unemployment rate was also 7.8 percent. It’s possible this signals a turnaround. Of course, it was possible May signaled a turnaround, too.

Here’s the release:

Minnesota employers added 10,300 jobs in July, the state’s first monthly employment gains since August 2008, according to figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

The state’s unemployment rate fell 0.3 percent from June to a seasonally adjusted 8.1 percent. The U.S. unemployment rate in July was 9.4 percent.

“This is encouraging news, particularly because the job gains were widespread across industry sectors,” said DEED Commissioner Dan McElroy. “We are hopeful that this is the beginning of an upward trend for our economy. As always, we continue our efforts to help businesses grow and to help people find jobs in Minnesota.”

Eight of the state’s 11 industry sectors gained employment during the month, led by leisure and hospitality, which added 3,900 jobs. Other gains were posted by government (up 2,800), manufacturing (up 1,700), professional and business services (up 1,700), education and health services (up 1,200), construction (up 700), logging and mining (up 200), and financial activities (up 100).

Job losses occurred in trade, transportation and utilities (down 1,300), information (down 500) and other services (down 200).

Over the past year, education and health services added 13,600 jobs and government added 6,000 jobs.

Jobs losses occurred over the past year in manufacturing (down 38,900), professional and business services (down 31,900), trade, transportation and utilities (down 20,600), construction (down 17,000), other services (down 3,900), financial activities (down 3,600), information (down 3,000), logging and mining (down 2,200), and leisure and hospitality (down 600).

In the state’s Metropolitan Statistical Areas, over-the-year job losses occurred in the Minneapolis-St. Paul MSA (down 3.5 percent), Duluth-Superior MSA (down 4.4 percent), Rochester MSA (down 1.6 percent) and St. Cloud MSA (down 2.7 percent).

The agency also announced the results of its second quarter job vacancy survey, which showed 31,400 job vacancies in the state between April and June 2009, down 39.4 percent from the same period a year ago. The survey showed that there were 7.7 unemployed people for each vacancy statewide during the quarter. The survey also indicates that over 95 percent of Minnesota employers expect to increase or maintain current employment levels through the end of the year.

I’m still soliciting people who are unemployed to tell me their stories for News Cut’s The Unemployed series. Contact me here.

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