State report puts Minnesota unemployment rate at 4.6 percent in May, lowest level in 7 years


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ST. PAUL, Minnesota — Minnesota registered its lowest unemployment rate in seven years Thursday after May's figure was pegged at 4.6 percent.

The Department of Employment and Economic Development reported that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate ticked down a notch from the month before when it was 4.7 percent. The new rate is the lowest since late 2007, before the recession took its toll.

The state gained 10,300 jobs in May, for a total of 45,617 added over the past year. It reverses a trend of the prior four months where more jobs were lost than were created.

"May's rebound certainly turned that trend around, which is good news," said Steve Hine, the agency's research director.

By next year, Hine predicted Minnesota's rate could again fall below 4 percent.

"We've still got a good percentage point to go where we could call ourselves back at full employment conditions," Hine said.

Compared with the national unemployment rate in May of 6.3 percent, Minnesota is far better shape.

Job gains were spread across most private sectors, led by construction and manufacturing. Government employment rolls shrank by 1,300 jobs. Still, officials say the state's growth rate in new jobs was slightly slower than the nation overall.

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