Minnesota's economy lost 100 jobs in February and the state's unemployment rate ticked up one tenth of a percent to 4.8 percent, according to statistics released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
The jobless rate rose primarily because of an influx of people starting to look for work. They outnumbered an increase in people reporting they were employed in February. But both components of the unemployment rate signal a stronger job market last month.
The portion of the state's population in the labor force climbed 0.2 percent for the second consecutive month in February and now stands at 70.5 percent. That two-month gain was the biggest jump in the labor force participation rate in 13 years.
However, the portion of people in Minnesota's labor force remains well below the highs seen in the mid-1990s, when it topped 75 percent.
Although total employment declined in February, the private sector added 900 jobs. January employment was revised upward from a gain of 600 jobs to an increase of 800 positions.
Total state employment rose by 44,714 jobs over the year ending last month. That's a growth rate of 1.6 percent compared with a U.S. growth rate of 1.5 percent during that period.
"Most Minnesota employment sectors are well ahead of where they were a year ago," DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben said in a statement.
"Manufacturing added jobs for the fifth month in a row, and construction is growing at more than three times the national pace."
Job gains last month were in education and health services (+1,300), professional and business services (+1,300), leisure and hospitality (+900), manufacturing (+300), construction (+300) and mining and logging (+100).
Job losses were in information (-1,000), government (-1,000), trade, transportation and utilities (-1,000), financial activities (-800) and other services (-500).