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Minnesota jobless rate up slightly

Minnesota employers cut 1,600 jobs in May, the smallest monthly loss since Aug. 2008, according to figures released by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Over the past year, the state has lost 3.4 percent of its jobs, compared with job cuts nationwide of 4 percent.

The Minnesota unemployment rate edged up slightly from 8.0 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted 8.2 percent in May. The U.S. rate for May was 9.4 percent.

"It is not yet clear if we have reached a turning point in our economic recovery, but there are some optimistic signs," said DEED Commissioner Dan McElroy. "We are encouraged that the unemployment rate has held steady in recent months and that the pace of job losses appears to be slowing."

For the first time in two years, the construction sector added jobs, mainly because of new employment in highway construction and specialty trades. Construction gained 900 jobs during the month.

Other sectors that added jobs were leisure and hospitality (up 7,100), government (up 800), financial activities (up 200), and education and health services (up 100). Job losses in May occurred in trade, transportation and utilities (down 7,000), manufacturing (down 2,100), information (down 700), logging and mining (down 600), and professional and business services (down 300).