Minn. lost 5,200 jobs in March

Employment in Minnesota dropped by 5,200 jobs in March. And while the jobless rate dropped slightly to 5.4 percent, the decline was due to more people giving up on looking for work.

Steve Hine, Minnesota's chief labor market analyst, said the cold weather in March likely played a big role in the weak results of weather-sensitive industries, like construction, retail and leisure and hospitality.

"Full-service restaurants, for example, were down for the first time in a March on record, going back 23 years," said Hine. "Usually this is a time when employment there is starting to pick up as sidewalk patios open, and so on."

Hine also notes that it's common to see a pullback after a strong run of employment growth, such as the one that preceded March's decline.

He says the federal budget cuts known as sequestration may also have played a role in the weak March job numbers.

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