Minnesota job vacancies rose to their highest level for a fourth quarter in seven years.
Survey results released by the state Department of Employment and Economic Development Thursday showed employers reported 58,860 vacancies from October through December, up 18 percent from same period the year before.
Thirty-nine percent of the job vacancies reported were for part-time employment, down from 42 percent a year earlier.
There were 2.6 unemployed people for each vacancy, compared with 3.2 unemployed people per vacancy a year earlier.
Oriane Casale of DEED's labor market information office said the numbers show an improving state labor market.
"Overall, actually, employers are fairly optimistic," Casale said. "They're more optimistic than one year ago; 12.6 percent expect to increase employment levels, and that's again, up from a year ago. And only 4.9 percent plan to decrease employment levels."
The manufacturing sector showed strong gains, the survey found, with 500 more job vacancies than the same quarter the year before.
"Manufacturers are in hiring mode and are somewhat struggling to find qualified workers," Casale said.
The state surveyed 10,300 employers, and received a 73.3 percent response rate. DEED's survey shows the median wage offer for all job vacancies in the fourth quarter of 2012 was $13.14 per hour.