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Unemployment reaches historic low; business survival rate tops in nation

In November, the Minnesota unemployment rate fell to 3.1 percent. The U.S. unemployment rate was 4.1 percent.

The state lost 4,000 jobs in November. Over the past year, Minnesota gained 34,566 jobs, an increase of 1.2 percent, while U.S. jobs grew 1.4 percent.

Through two consecutive months of employment declines, Minnesota's labor markets are surprisingly strong. There has been a decline in the unemployment rate to levels last seen before the 2001 recession, as the labor force participation rate (70.6 percent) increases to six year highs — and with an aging population. The decline in the number of unemployed to below 100,000 suggests a continued tightening. How long can these recent job gains be sustained?

• Leisure and hospitality lost 7,500 jobs over the month with most coming from Accommodation and Food Services (down 5,600) and Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation (down 1,900).

• Manufacturing lost 700 Durable Goods Manufacturing jobs over the month, but is now in its seventh month of over-the-year growth.

• There were losses in Government and Government was down 600 and information was down 700.

• The private sector average work week dropped from 34.4 hours in October to 34.1 in November; and the private sector average wage rate fell by 16 cents to $28.62 per hour. Over-the-year wage growth fell to 84 cents (3 percent) in November, the slowest rate of wage growth since March 2016.

Alternative Measures of Unemployment

Alternative measures of unemployment provides a more complete picture of the labor market. The numbers taken from the Current Population Survey are averages over the past 12 months; thus, they do not fully reflect recent trends.

As of November 2017, Minnesota's over-the-year changes in unemployment rate by race or ethnicity includes:

• Black or African American, 8 percent, compared to 8.3 percent in November 2016.

• White, 2.9 percent, and 2.9 percent in November 2016.

• Hispanic or Latino, 5 percent, compared to 6 percent in November 2016.

As of November 2017, Minnesota's over-the-year changes in unemployment rate by age and gender includes:

• Teens (age 16-19), 10.6 percent, compared to 9.6 percent in November 2016.

• Men, 4.2 percent, compared to 4.5 percent in November 2016.

• Women, 2.7 percent, compared to 3.0 percent in November 2016.

Business Survival Rate

The statistical snapshot for November reports that 57.4 percent of all new businesses that started in Minnesota in 2012 were still operating five years later — that's the highest nationwide. The national rate was 50.2 percent. Many Midwestern and Plains states landed in the top 10 business 5-year survival rate, including:

• South Dakota, 56 percent

• Massachusetts, 55.7 percent

• Iowa, 55.4 percent

• Wisconsin, 55.1 percent

• Maine, 54.7 percent

• Missouri, 53.8 percent

• Ohio, 53.5 percent

• California and Montana, 53.4 percent