(AP) - Despite that loss, the state's overall unemployment rate dropped slightly from the previous month: 3.7 percent in August compared to 3.8 percent in July, according to numbers released Tuesday by the state Department of Employment and Economic Development.
Those numbers may seem at odds, but it could indicate that more unemployed people say they aren't even looking for a new job. In such circumstances, they are not counted in the unemployment rate.
State economist Tom Stinson said the job losses recorded last month should be seen as a minor correction to the large gains recorded earlier this year.
"We've had some monster months in job growth since March," he said. "The decline this month just reflects coming back a little bit to more-normal growth rates for the state overall."
Over the last year, the state's major industries reported job growth of about 2.6 percent, or about 71,653 jobs. A typical year would see about 30,000 to 45,000 jobs created, Stinson said.
Minnesota's job growth in the second quarter of 2006 accounted for 10 percent of the nation's overall job creation. But those numbers may be due for a correction, as economists typically use September and October job reports for more solid numbers rather than those recorded in summer months, when the numbers are more subject to seasonal employment.
The new numbers gave the major-party candidates for governor another opportunity to spar over the health of the state's economy. Attorney General Mike Hatch, the DFL candidate candidate, issued a statement saying that July job-growth figures were 2,000 less than the 12,000 that Pawlenty reported in a news conference last month.
Viewing the last three years as a whole, the state has lagged behind the rest of the nation in job creation, Hatch said. "No one month in and of itself means a lot," he said.
Brian McClung, spokesman for the Pawlenty campaign, responded that Minnesota saw fewer job losses than the rest of the nation after Sept. 11, 2001, and thus had less ground to recover in recent years. The job growth of 2.6 percent in the past year is twice the national average, he said.
"The job-growth trend in Minnesota, especially over the last year, is very strong," he said.
(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)