Minnesota’s unemployment rate remains at 5.6 percent, compared to the national rate of 8.1 percent. It’s a far cry from Nevada’s which has the nation’s highest number of unemployed, at 12 percent, followed by California at 10.8 percent, according to CNN Money.
Sure, Minnesota’s not nearly as well off as our neighbors to the west — North Dakota has an unemployment rate of 3 percent. Oil and natural gas production in western North Dakota has spurred that state’s economy to make it the second largest oil producing state in the nation, behind Texas.
Nebraska’s unemployment rate is 4.0 percent, while South Dakota’s is a 4.4 percent. Oklahoma has a rate of 4.9 percent, Vermont is at 5, and our neighbor to the south has an unemployment rate of 5.3 percent.
Why does Minnesota’s strong employment picture seem robust when Wisconsinites are faced with a rate of 7.3 percent? It would appear that Minnesota’s seasonal construction projects have put a number of seasonal workers back on the job.
In July, there were 6,800 jobs added to the Minnesota economy. “We are in the midst of an economy that continues to build off the strengths we saw in June,” said Kyle Uphoff, Department of Employment and Economic Development’s (DEED) regional analysis and outreach manager. But Uphoff also acknowledged that job numbers and the unemployment rate are not in sync because the economy is still trying to gain its footing.
The construction industry has benefited from more housing construction, especially apartment buildings. In the Twin Cities, more than 14,000 units are proposed or in development in the metro, with more than 700 completed since fall 2011, according to Finance and Commerce’s Twin Cities Apartment Development Tracker.
According to state officials, the construction industry still has 38,000 fewer construction jobs than it did in 2005.
Employment growth has netted 57,100 non-farm jobs in the state. Two hundred jobs in logging and mining have been added, along with 4,900 manufacturing jobs, 1,200 trades, transportation and utility jobs were lost, but 2,400 financial activity jobs more than made up for that loss, and education and health service jobs showed a gain of 10,500 and the greatest increase came in professional and business services.
Per usual, Minnesota’s economy keeps chugging along at a robust rate. Could it be better. You betcha, but only if oil and gas are discovered while digging in an ore pit up north.