Report: Spring job vacancies in Minn. up by a third, signaling recovery

Job vacancies in Minnesota were up by nearly a third this spring compared to the same time last year, state employment officials announced Thursday.

The Department of Employment and Economic Development said employers reported nearly 55,000 openings during the second quarter of 2011, compared to about 41,000 in 2010.

Oriane Casale, assistant director of DEED's Labor Market Information Office, said the numbers show Minnesota is continuing to climb out of the recession.

"We're seeing a hiring level that's more back to the normal level that we saw when the recession hit," she said. "Unfortunately, there's still so many unemployed people out there that the job market is still quite competitive."

The survey of employers found that the state had 3.6 unemployed people per vacancy compared to 4.8 in spring of 2010.

Casale said one of the more encouraging signs from the report is that vacancies related to manufacturing and construction were both up. Compared to spring 2010, vacancies in manufacturing-related jobs were up more than 50 percent, and construction vacancies were up by 62 percent.

Casale said the construction vacancies were mostly in heavy construction rather than residential construction — a sector that has suffered during the housing crisis.

Although the numbers are from this spring, Casale said the report is encouraging and signals that the worst of the recession may be over.

"The economy was probably doing better than even we had thought, based on, for example, our monthly employment numbers. Employers were willing to hire," she said. "This report definitely supports the idea that there will not be a double-dip [recession]."

The U.S. economy grew at an anemic rate of 1 percent in the second quarter, according to the latest official estimate.

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