Minnesota construction job growth strong in February


Minnesota added more than 6,000 jobs in February, in industries ranging from healthcare to construction.

Minnesota employers were responsible for staffing 6,200 jobs in February, with the gains spread across various industries from healthcare to construction, according to The Star Tribune. After creating 15,500 new positions in January, the state has added 32,300 jobs over the course of three months.

Education and health services created a combined total of 5,100 new positions during the period, which was largely spurred by a hiring spree that happened at various academic institutions once the winter break ended, the media outlet reports. Information services was responsible for the creation of 900 positions, and the leisure and hospitality industry created another 1,300 jobs.

"The labor market recovery appears to be gaining steam, with three consecutive months of strong job growth," Mark Phillips, Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, told the news source. "The state has now recovered 81,400 jobs since the recession."

Construction was another industry that experienced strong growth during the period, adding 1,300 positions during the period, according to Finance and Commerce. Data that was recently released by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) indicates that the state's construction sector has been responsible for staffing 3,300 new positions during the last 12 months.

This figure represents a 4.6 percent gain in the industry's employment, and the strongest in growth for any sector in the state during the period, the media outlet reports. Data provided by the government organization indicates that employment among contractors who specialize in a particular discipline surged 9.7 percent during the 12-month period. Workers that fit into this category represent 68 percent of the state's construction workers.

The job gains in the industry could be at least partially attributed to favorable weather conditions, Steve Hine, director of DEED’s Labor Market Information Office, told the news source.

He added that regardless of what created the growth in jobs, "any strength in this sector is certainly welcome news."

This progress coincided with news that initial claims for jobless benefits dropped by 5,000 to 348,000 during the week that ended March 17, according to a report released by the Labor Department. This figure represented the lowest value for these claims since February 2008. The metric exceeded the expectations of economists polled by Bloomberg News, who provided a median forecast of a drop to 350,000 claims for the period.

The four-week moving average for these jobless claims declined to 355,000 during the week from the previous figure of 356,250.

Additional improvement in the nationwide labor market could coincide with continued strong performance in Minnesota's staffing efforts.