Local job numbers up; manufacturing up 7.8%

Oct. 21—MANKATO — Job numbers continued their strong growth in the Mankato region in September, with manufacturing jobs surging nearly 8% year over year.

Blue Earth and Nicollet counties combined increased job numbers by 2.9% in September compared to a year earlier. Manufacturers added 7.8% to their job numbers while the service sector added 1.8%. Government jobs were down 0.6% year over year.

Average hourly earnings in the Mankato area in September were $32.66, up from $28.22 a year ago.

There were 56,906 jobs in the two counties in September, up from 55,319 a year earlier.

Minnesota gained 3.3% in job numbers compared to a year earlier, according to numbers released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Minnesota's September unemployment rate remains historically low at 2%, one-tenth of a point higher than August and 1.5 points better than the national rate of 3.5%. Minnesota's labor force participation rate ticked down one-tenth of point to 68.1%, compared to the national rate of 62.3%.

Minnesota's job growth in September follows the addition of 1,200 jobs (revised up from a loss of 3,100) in August. Minnesota's private sector gained 8,500 jobs in September, up 0.3%, with Government losing 4,300 jobs, down 1%. The U.S. gained 578,000 jobs in September, up 0.4% from August, with the private sector adding 563,000 jobs, up 0.4% on a seasonally adjusted basis.

The trend toward job growth has remained strong coming out of the pandemic. Minnesota employment has grown 2.4% since January 2022 while the U.S. has grown 2.2%. For 12 straight months, Minnesota has gained jobs.

"Minnesota's economy is strong and continues to grow, with a new milestone today of 12 straight months of job growth," DEED Commissioner Steve Grove said in a statement.

"Our nation-leading unemployment rate continues to reveal a market full of opportunity — we're committed to driving innovative approaches to help Minnesota businesses find the workers they need."

Minnesota remained at the top of the list of states with the tightest labor markets with 4.1 job openings for every unemployed worker based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data from July, the latest such information available. With 226,000 job openings in July, Minnesota had a vacancy rate of 7.2%, 15th highest tied with Idaho and Illinois.

The number of involuntary part-time workers in Minnesota ticked down to 28,100 in September, another all-time low. These low numbers indicate that workers don't need to settle for part-time jobs when they prefer fulltime jobs and are another sign of the very tight labor market.