Minnesota employers added 10,300 jobs in July -- the state's first monthly employment gains since August 2008 --- primarily in the areas of hospitality, government and manufacturing, according to figures released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
As a result, the gains represent an unemployment rate drop of 0.3 percent from June to 8.1 percent in July, officials said.
"This is encouraging news, particularly because the job gains were widespread across industry sectors," DEED Commissioner Dan McElroy said in a statement. "We are hopeful that this is the beginning of an upward trend for our economy."
Eight of the state's 11 industry sectors gained employment during the month, led by leisure and hospitality, which added 3,900 jobs. Government added 2,800 jobs, manufacturing 1,700 jobs, professional and business services 1,700, and education and health services 1,200, the agency reported.
About 1,300 jobs were lost in trade, transportation and utilities, while information lost 500 and other services lost 200.
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.