Minn. loses 2K jobs in August, jobless rate ticks up

Job fair
Job seekers visit the Minneapolis Career Fair held Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011, in Bloomington, Minn.
AP Photo/Jim Mone

Minnesota's estimated unemployment rate barely budged in August, rising a tenth of a percent to a seasonally adjusted 5.9 percent according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

The state unemployment rate remained well below the U.S. rate of 8.1 percent.

The department figures state employers eliminated 2,000 jobs last month. But over the past year, DEED says Minnesota has added about 25,000 jobs. DEED economist Steve Hine said the numbers reflect the continuing fragility of the economic recovery.

"This is a weak recovery," he said. "We've been averaging 2,000 jobs added over the past year, per month. But at this point in the recovery, considering the hole that we're digging ourselves out of, we would hope to see much better growth."

But Hine believes a decline in unemployment claims and other encouraging signs point to the state's job and unemployment numbers improving down the road. Minnesota has regained half the roughly 160,000 jobs it lost during the recession.

"We have a lot of indicators that suggest labor demand is back up to pre-recessionary levels," Hine said. "The pace of layoffs is down to pre-recessionary levels. That should translate into improved job growth in the coming months."

The monthly unemployment and job statistics are derived from separate surveys of households and employers. The figures are subject to revision and a margin of error. The unemployment rate, for instance, has a margin of error of a half of a percentage point. So, the range of the estimated unemployment rate is from 5.4 to 6.4 percent.

Estimated job gains or losses can be subject to significant revisions from month to month. Initially, it was estimated the state added 6,800 jobs in July. Now, the estimate has been lowered to 4,800.

At the end of year, there are comprehensive counts of employment that yield more accurate measures of employment and unemployment.

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