ST. PAUL (WJON News) - Almost 4,000 Minnesotans entered the workforce in July. 

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development says the number of people working, or looking for work, has grown for five months in a row. The additional workers result in a 68.5% workforce participation rate, keeping Minnesota in the top ten states for workforce participation. 

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Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) Commissioner Matt Varilek says the growth means business is finding the labor they need.

Ongoing growth in our state's labor force is a positive sign as many Minnesota employers continue looking for the workers they need. At DEED, we're working to expand our employment and training programs to help Minnesotans prepare for and find employment in high-demand fields on a path to family-sustaining wages.

However, those new workers didn’t always find work. Minnesota’s unemployment rate climbed one-tenth of a point to 3.0%. 

DEED Labor Market Information Office Director Angelina Nguyễn says the small bump in the unemployment rate deserves more attention. 

The increase in the state's unemployment rate this month is due in large part to new people joining the labor force and starting to look for work. That said, we are keeping a close eye on job growth, as industries continue to adjust hiring levels following strong job growth during the initial years of pandemic employment recovery.

DEED reports the statewide average for hourly wages grew $.83 from June to July and now averages $36.18 per hour. That’s up $1.80, or 5.2% since July of 2022, while the Consumer Price Index rose 3.2% in the same timeframe. 

Other takeaways from the report:

  • Over the month, four super sectors posted growth in Minnesota: 
    • Trade, Transportation & Utilities added 2,900 jobs; 
    • Education & Health Services added 1,500 jobs;
    • Professional & Business Services added 500 jobs. 
  • Job losses over the month were concentrated in: 
    • Leisure & Hospitality, which lost 3,800 jobs. This is the second-straight month of job losses for the sector, suggesting its post-pandemic job recovery is leveling off. However, jobs in this supersector have grown 4% over the year, leading the way among employers. 
    • Manufacturing, down 800 jobs; 
    • Information, down 400 jobs; 
    • Construction, down 300 jobs; 
    • Government and Mining & Logging, down 100 jobs respectively.

DEED officials say every area of the state saw job growth over the past year. The Mankato area had the highest rate of job growth, boasting a growth rate of 6.9%, or 3,700 positions. 

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