Minnesota unemployment rate, jobs drop slightly

The latest workforce report from the state shows Minnesota’s unemployment rate dropped slightly last month.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) says the state’s unemployment rate dropped 0.2% in March to 2.8% — lower than the national rate of 3.5%. The labor force participation rate stayed at 68%, up from the national rate of 62.6%.

However, the data also shows the state lost around 5,700 jobs from February to March on a seasonally adjusted basis.

“A decline in the unemployment rate is good news for Minnesota,” DEED Temporary Commissioner Kevin McKinnon said in a statement. “While a decline in the number of jobs and no change in the labor force participation rate may seem like a bit of a disconnect, the data trends will even out over time.”

DEED says the state has still gained more than 64,000 payroll jobs over the year, up 2.2%.

Additionally, the department says wages are catching up to inflation despite the fact that average hourly wages fell 15 cents last month, noting average hourly earnings are up 4.5% over the year. Inflation was measured at 5% last month, according to the Consumer Price Index.