ST PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota continued to add more jobs in August, while the unemployment rate continued to drop, a promising trend after a year of economic hardship from the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), the state gained 4,300 jobs as the unemployment rate dropped one-tenth of a percentage point to 3.8%. The private sector also gained 6,200 jobs in August, twice the amount from the previous month.
In a press release, DEED revised its July numbers with an additional 2,600 jobs in total employment and 3,100 in the private sector.
“It’s great to see continued job growth, especially after the strong month we had in July,” DEED Commissioner Steve Grove said in a release. “As fall begins we will re-double our efforts to highlight the extraordinary opportunities that exist in our economy now – and work directly with businesses and job seekers to accelerate hiring.”
According to the DEED, Minnesota gained 109,834 payroll jobs over the year and 103,012 jobs in the private sector.
Nationally, unemployment fell two-tenths of a percentage point in August to 5.2% and 235,000 jobs were added, according to the DEED.
The report comes as Gov. Tim Walz visited Bloomington-based manufacturing plant, SkyWater Technology, Inc.
"Here at SkyWater, we produce microchips for a variety of industries, including automotive, medical, aerospace, and defense," SkyWater president and CEO Thomas Sonderman said.
Sonderman is calling on the U.S. House to back the Senate-approved Innovation and Competition Act, saying it would improve the global shortage of microchips.
"This change would allow us to increase output from our facility while creating 100 new high-tech positions," he said.
Gov. Walz says Minnesota is in support of the proposal.
"Not only is it those 100 jobs here – the expansion and all of the peripheral jobs that go with it – it's the security that comes with knowing we're manufacturing our chips," the governor said. "We're not at the mercy of what's happening with the supply chain from Taiwan or anywhere else and we control some of that data security right here in the United States."
Grove says the manufacturing sector added 2,300 jobs in August yet he says manufacturing employers are struggling to hire workers like every other industry.
"I think there's this perception out there sometimes that these jobs are somehow not career track or they're low-tech," Grove said. "In fact, the more manufacturing companies you talk with, the more you'll see that in fact these jobs are incredibly high-tech and have great career potential and pay way more on average than a typical job in the state."
Average wages continued to rise in August – growing 9 cents in the private sector – and teen unemployment dropped to 6.2%, which is the second lowest rate since 2002.
In a breakdown of the sectors with the most job growth in August, manufacturing (2,300 jobs gained), leisure & hospitality (2,000 jobs gained), transportation and utilities (1,500 jobs gained), financial activities (1,300 jobs gained), professional & business services (900 jobs gained) and construction (600 jobs gained) were among the best.
In contrast, government (1,900 jobs lost) and education & health services (1,200 jobs lost) were the industries with the biggest job losses in August.