In the latest state employment numbers, the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) reported Minnesota employers added 9,500 jobs in December, bringing total job gains in the state to 45,900 in the past year.
The unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.6 percent, well below the U.S. unemployment rate of 6.7 percent.
“We’ve got significant momentum built into the recovery,” said Steve Hine, director of the labor market information office at DEED.
The construction industry, in particular, is showing strong momentum, DEED reported. The sector is up 6,500 jobs from a year ago, a 7.5 percent growth rate that is more than triple the U.S. growth rate of 2.2 percent in that industry.
Other statistical highlights from DEED’s announcement:
■ Minnesota has added nearly 177,000 jobs in the recovery.
■ The U.S. recession officially ended 55 months ago in June 2009. The average length of the 11 economic recoveries since World War II has been 58 months.
■ Minnesota now has a record 2,797,700 jobs — nearly 17,000 more jobs than the previous peak in February 2008.
■ Manufacturing is the only major industrial sector that lost jobs in Minnesota in the past year, declining by 400. But the sector has shown some recent strength, adding jobs four months in a row, including 1,700 in December, and in six of the past seven months.
■ The state unemployment rate of 4.6 percent is at its lowest level since June 2007.
■ The labor force participation rate in Minnesota increased for the first time in seven months in December to 70.1 percent. Minnesota has one of the country’s highest labor force participation rates, but it has been dropping here as elsewhere. Economists expect that trend to continue for the foreseeable future, driven largely by retiring baby boomers exiting the workforce.