Employers in Minnesota added a net 1,200 jobs in May and the unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 6.6 percent, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development reported Thursday.
Construction had the largest monthly employment gain in May, adding 2,200 jobs. Professional and business services, which includes temporary jobs, also saw a sizeable increase.
Steve Hine, the state's head labor market analyst, said construction's strong performance in May seems to suggest that the sector's steep decline in April was largely weather related. Still, construction job growth in May did not erase the April losses.
"It's not a strong start to the season," Hine said.
On the other hand, Hine notes that construction employment nationally is now experiencing a year-over-year increase, which he says is a good omen.
Government shed the greatest number of jobs, paring 4,200 positions last month. Meanwhile, the private sector has added 7,300 jobs in the past two months.
Hine said the slight uptick in the unemployment rate marks a somewhat positive development. It suggests some jobless workers are gaining confidence and returning to the job hunt.
"We have been seeing a return to work," Hine said. "That is generally a long-anticipated positive development. I don't know what took so long. We're seeing higher participation, and it's not at all surprising to see at least some of that temporarily translate into higher unemployment."
DEED revised April's job loss figures. The agency initially reported 5,200 job losses in April, but now says says employers shed only 2,600 jobs.