Minnesota's unemployment rate improved to a seasonally adjusted 3.8 percent in March. And for the first time in more than two and a half years, the state's annual job growth rate also outpaced the nation.
Minnesota employers added 5,300 jobs during the month. Revised February numbers also showed 6,200 jobs gained that month compared to the initial report of 3,800 jobs, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development said Thursday.
Minnesota's March jobless rate was significantly better than the 4.5 percent national rate and slightly better than the state's 4 percent rate in February.
Over the past year, the state has gained 48,162 jobs, a growth rate of 1.7 percent, compared to a United States growth rate of 1.5 percent in that time. Since January 2011, Minnesota has gained 268,000 jobs.
"Minnesota's economy continues to move in the right direction, bringing opportunities for prosperity and independence to more Minnesotans," DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy said in a statement that also noted Minnesota had surpassed 2.5 million private sector jobs.
Among the sectors gaining jobs in March: Professional and business services (up 4,900); leisure and hospitality (up 2,500). Industries that lost jobs included trade, transportation, and utilities (down 2,500), education and health care (down 1,400), and construction (down 900).