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State adds 5,800 jobs in August but unemployment remains at 7.2 percent

ST. PAUL - Minnesota added 28,400 jobs in August, largely related to laid-off state employees returning to work after the three-week government shutdown ended, according to figures released by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

"Job growth in the private sector continues to be a bright spot of the Minnesota economy," said DEED Commissioner Mark Phillips. "We have seen state manufacturers, construction companies and other private businesses add more than 42,000 jobs in the past four months."

Phillips also noted that initial claims for unemployment insurance benefits fell to 19,625 in August, the fewest in Minnesota in three years.

The return of government workers accounted for 22,600 of the job gains, while the private sector added 5,800 jobs during the month. The state unemployment rate remained unchanged at a seasonally adjusted 7.2 percent, although that number was skewed by the "smoothing" of data that understated the impact of thousands of state employees returning to work en masse.

Along with state government, other sectors that gained jobs during the month were trade, transportation and utilities (up 4,100), construction (up 2,200), education and health services (up 1,400), manufacturing (up 1,200), and professional and business services (up 700).

The construction industry has added 7,500 jobs in the past four months, the first gain in jobs during the summer construction season since before the housing crash in 2006.

Job losses occurred in Minnesota last month in leisure and hospitality (down 3,300), financial activities (down 200), other services (down 200) and information (down 100). Mining and logging was unchanged.

Over the past year, the following sectors have added jobs: trade, transportation and utilities (up 12,400), leisure and hospitality (up 12,400), education and health services (up 11,200), manufacturing (up 7,100), professional and business services (up 5,400), financial activities (up 500), and logging and mining (up 200).

Year-over-year job losses have occurred in government (down 2,600), information (down 1,200), other services (down 1,100) and construction (down 100).

In the state Metropolitan Statistical Areas, job gains have occurred in the past year in the Mankato MSA (up 3.7 percent), Rochester MSA (up 2.7 percent), the Duluth-Superior MSA (up 2.3 percent) and the Minneapolis-St. Paul MSA (up 1.5 percent). The St. Cloud MSA was statistically unchanged.

DEED is the state's principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more details about the agency, visit