Minnesota Continues to Lag Neighboring States Economically

WASHINGTON – New data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that Minnesota is falling further behind its neighbors in the unemployment rate battle.

Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) released job gain numbers Thursday, and reported that Minnesota gained 15,100 jobs in April. This is the largest gain in one month for Minnesota since September 2013.

“This is the largest monthly jobs gain Minnesota has seen in nearly four years,” DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy said in a press release. “Minnesota has already added nearly 23,000 jobs in the first four months of 2017.”

In the past twelve months Minnesota has added 34,715 jobs, while seeing the civilian labor force expand by a slightly lower number of people. This is a 1.2 percent growth rate is slightly behind the U.S. job growth rate of 1.4 percent. About 66 percent of Minnesota’s job gains for the past year have come in the first four months of 2017.

These gains mean little for the unemployment rate in the state, which held steady at a seasonally adjusted 3.8 percent. This is still a better mark than the nationwide rate of 4.4 percent, but is significantly higher than all of Minnesota’s neighboring states.

Minnesota’s unemployment rate not only held steady at 3.8 percent from March to April, but also from April 2016 to April 2017, including hitting four percent along the way.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate continues a dramatic decline. In April 2016 it was 4.1 percent, and from February to April 2017 it has declined from 3.7 percent, to 3.4 percent, to settle at 3.2 percent currently. Wisconsin also added a similar number of jobs to Minnesota in the last twelve months, adding 37,600 jobs as the civilian labor force added just under 33,000 people.

Iowa started April 2016 at the same 3.8 percent rate as Minnesota, but has now fallen to 3.1 percent. North Dakota started lower than Minnesota with 3.3 percent unemployment and has come down further since then, currently recording a 2.7 percent unemployment. South Dakota has seen a slight uptick since last year, but still is a full point lower than Minnesota, at 2.8 percent unemployment.

Anders Koskinen