Minnesota jobless rate lowest since 2008

Minnesota's jobless rate fell to 4.8 percent in October. That is the first time the state's unemployment rate has been under 5 percent since February of 2008, close to the onset of the Great Recession.

In September, the unemployment rate registered 5 percent, down slightly from the August reading.

Despite the October government shutdown, Minnesota payrolls added 9,900 positions last month, regaining the 8,700 jobs lost in September, plus an additional 1,200.

"Not only does the state have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, but we're also adding jobs -- an indicator of a growing economy on the right track," Katie Clark Sieben, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, said in a statement.

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Sieben's agency reported the October and September employment numbers on Thursday. The September report was postponed due to the federal government shutdown.

The state has added nearly 50,000 jobs over the past year. That translates to an annual growth rate of 1.8 percent, slightly better than the U.S. average of 1.7 percent.

Factory job growth recently has been notable, said Laura Kalambokidis, Minnesota's chief economist.

"Minnesota manufacturers are are still employing fewer people than they did before the last recession and even fewer than one year ago," she said. "The good news with this two-month report is that after a tough spring and summer, manufacturing saw two solid months of growth in September and October."

Education and health services had the biggest job gains over the September-October time frame with 6,700 jobs. Other sectors adding employment include:

• Manufacturing (+5,300)

• Information (+600)

• Construction (+300)

• Logging and mining (+200)

• Government (+200)

Industries reporting employment declines include:

• Professional and business services (-7,300)

• Other services (-3,500)

• Financial activities (-1,000)

• Trade, transportation and utilities (-200)

• Leisure and hospitality (-100)

MPR News reporter Annie Baxter contributed to this story.