Minnesota's unemployment rate dropped a tenth of a percentage point to 6.6 percent in March, according to figures released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
The national unemployment rate in March was 8.8 percent.
The state has had three consecutive months of jobs gains said Steve Hine, the state's chief labor market analyst. But the state's job growth rate has been lagging behind the national average.
Hine said at the current rate of job creation, it'll take four and a half years to gain back the roughly 140,000 jobs Minnesota lost in the recession.
"This rate of job growth is inadequate to get us back to full recovery status in anything near what we would like to see," Hine said.
But Hine is optimistic that the pace of the economy and hiring will pick up. If that happens, he expects the state could recover the lost jobs in about two years.