ST. PAUL - Minnesota's unemployment rate fell to 2.9 percent in August, the lowest it has been in nearly 19 years.

The rate was 3 percent in July, according to a report released Thursday, Sept. 20, by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, or DEED. The last time the seasonally adjusted rate fell below 3 percent was in December 1999. The record-low jobless rate for the state is 2.5 percent, which was recorded in January and February 1999.

The national unemployment rate in August was 3.9 percent.

"The annual job growth figures point to a state labor market that is growing strong," said DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy. "Among other positive signs, the number of unemployed Minnesotans last month fell below 90,000 for the first time in over 18 years."

While the number of jobless fell, so too did the number of jobs in Minnesota in August, by 200. But that came after thee strong months of job growth, like the 11,200 added in July, DEED noted.

Over the past 12 months, Minnesota has added 50,904 jobs, a 1.7 percent growth rate. The U.S. job growth rate is 1.8 percent.

-- St. Paul Pioneer Press