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MN unemployment rate above national average for August

Following national trends, Minnesota employers dropped 3,100 jobs in August, according to figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

Over the past 12 months Minnesota has lost 8,200 jobs, a decline of 0.3 percent, equal to the national pace for that period. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in the state stands at 6.2 percent for August; the national rate is 6.1 percent.

"Employers are becoming more cautious about hiring as the national economy has slowed down," said DEED Commissioner Dan McElroy. "Some areas of the state economy have managed to buck the trend, especially the Financial Activities and Trade, Transportation and Utilities sectors."

The state gained jobs in August in Trade, Transportation and Utilities (up 4,100), Government (up 1,100), Education and Health Services (up 500) and Financial Activities (up 300). Natural Resources and Mining held steady for the month.

Job losses were posted in Professional and Business Services (down 3,700), Manufacturing (down 2,900), Leisure and Hospitality (down 1,100), Construction (down 500), and Information (down 400).

Over the past 12 months, growth in the Financial Activities sector remains positive, adding over 2,500 jobs or 1.4 percent, led by growth in insurance carriers.

In addition to Financial Activities, Minnesota is outpacing the nation in Construction; Manufacturing; Trade, Transportation and Utilities; and Government over the year.

Employment in the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Statistical Area has dropped 0.2 percent in the past year with the loss of 3,500 jobs. In other Minnesota metropolitan areas over the past year, Duluth-Superior grew 0.1 percent with 100 additional jobs, Rochester grew 0.8 percent with 900 jobs, St. Cloud held steady, Fargo-Moorhead increased 0.9 percent with 1,000 jobs and Grand Forks grew 2 percent with 1,100 jobs.

These figures are not seasonally adjusted.

DEED also announced job vacancy results for the second quarter of 2008. Employers reported 51,700 vacancies across a variety of occupations, 17.3 percent fewer than the same period one year ago.

Between April and June of 2008, there were approximately 2.9 unemployed people for each vacancy statewide.

Almost 60 percent of the job vacancies are located in the seven-county metropolitan area of Minneapolis Saint Paul, which is similar to the distribution of the state's population and total number of jobs.

"The largest sector for vacancies continues to be health care and social assistance, with approximately 22 percent of the state's vacancies," said Oriane Casale, DEED's Labor Market Information office assistant director.