ST. PAUL — Minnesota added 14,500 jobs in July in what officials said was the largest one-month gain since March of this year.

Approximately 8,700 of the jobs added last month were in the private sector, according to new Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development statistics released Thursday, Aug. 19. Unemployment dropped one-tenth of a percentage point to 3.9% in Minnesota and fell by half a percentage point to 5.4% at the national level.

The change reflects a mix of successful job hunts and slight decline in labor force participation, according to DEED officials. Minnesota's labor force participation rate, or its share of working-age individuals who are either employed or actively seeking work, fell by by a tenth of a percentage point over the month to 67.8% in July.

At a virtual news conference Thursday, DEED Commissioner Steve Grove named retirement as one cause of the participation rate dip.

Job gains were strongest in Minnesota's leisure and hospitality sector, which added 7,700 jobs over the month. Oriane Casale, interim director of the DEED Labor Market Information Office, noted wage increases Wednesday in that sector as well.

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As of July, Minnesota has recovered approximately 63.8% of the 416,300 jobs lost between February and April of 2020. Over the year in July, the following nine Minnesota "super sectors" gained jobs:

  • Leisure & Hospitality, up 24% or 51,162 jobs.
  • Education & Health Services, up 3.3% or 17,076 jobs.
  • Professional & Business Services, up 5.8% or 20,532 jobs.
  • Trade, Transportation & Utilities, up 2.9% or 14,641 jobs.
  • Government, up 4.4% or 16,463 jobs.
  • Other Services, up 6.0% or 5,994 jobs.
  • Manufacturing, up 3.5% or 10,776 jobs.
  • Construction, up 5.3% or 7,190 jobs.
  • Mining & Logging, up 19.5% or 1,120 jobs.

Over-the-year job gains remained strongest in the Duluth and Rochester areas in July with the Duluth area adding around 9,400 jobs, an increase of 7.7%. The Rochester area gained roughly 5,800 in that time, an increase of 4.9%.