Minnesota jobless rate dips to lowest since 2001

Now hiring
A booth at a job fair for the Builders Association of the Twin Cities in May featured a "Now Hiring" sign in St. Paul.
Jennifer Simonson / MPR News file

Updated 11:40 a.m. | Posted 10:11 a.m.

Minnesota's unemployment rate slipped to a seasonally adjusted 3.7 percent in November, down slightly from October and far below the national jobless rate of 5.8 percent.

Minnesota employers added 6,600 jobs in November, the Department of Employment and Economic Development said Thursday.

The state unemployment rate is at its lowest level since May 2001, the department said.

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Wages remain stagnant, but that could be a function of job growth, said state labor market economist Steve Hine.

Graphic: Unemployment rate
Graphic depicts Minnesota's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate through October.
Courtesy of Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

"An improving economy can actually give rise to lowering average wages if the new hires are coming in at the low end of the wage distribution," he said.

The largest employment gains were in the leisure and hospitality sector. Many workers in those industries got a bump in pay because of the state's minimum wage increase, he added.

"Our increase in minimum wage is not only raising the earning power of workers in this sector, but is also not having those negative impacts on employment that many had feared," Hine said.

However, the average hourly wage for private sector workers Minnesota was $25.75 in November. That's up just a penny from a year ago.