Minneapolis' unemployment rate may have inched up 0.3 percent in May, but City of Minneapolis officials aren't too glum.
Why? Because 2,300 people started looking for work while 1,400 people found work, increasing the total unemployment rate (See? It's all in the math).
"The surge in labor force means that more people were optimistic about the labor market, even when fewer of them found jobs," city researcher Cecilia Bolognesi in an email forwarded by a city spokesperson.
In the next breath, though, Bolognesi said that this all could just be seasonal.
"Between March and May employment tends to grow because warm weather brings an increase in tourism, which rises demand for lodging, restaurants, recreational activities and retail," she wrote.
And what about those 2,300 Minneapolitans jumping back into the labor force pool? The state Department of Employment and Economic Development's Labor Market Information Office told Patch that the May unemployment survey wasn't precise enough to say if they were part of the long-term unemployed. They suggested that some could be high school and college students looking for work, but pointed out that the workforce did not increase by a similar amount in May 2011 or 2010.
County-wide, Hennepin County’s unemployment increased slightly in May as about 2,000 jobs were lost.
The county’s unemployment rate was 5.1 percent, according to Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development.
The unemployment level remains 0.9 percent less than the 6 percent reported in May 2011. However, it is still higher than the 4.8 percent reported in April 2012, which had been the lowest unemployment level for the county since May 2008.
In May, 33,429 of the county’s 661,518 labor force was unemployed.
Hennepin County’s unemployment rate was just less than the statewide rate of 5.2 percent. Nationwide the rate was 7.9 percent. These figures are not seasonally adjusted.
Minnesota’s unemployment rate shrunk 0.1 percent from April to May while the nationwide rate grew 0.2 percent.
Overall Minnesota lost 900 jobs in May and 155,362 Minnesotans remain unemployed.
“May’s economic situation for Minnesota showed a further decline in jobs as employment fell 900,” said Rachel Vilsack, coordinator of special projects for the Labor Market Information Office at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
“There are positive indicators of our economic conditions,” Vilsack said, "including seasonally adjusted new claims for unemployment are at a post-recessionary low, and online job postings as measured by the Conference Board’s HWOL (Help Wanted Online) index remain high relative to pre-recessionary levels.”
The following sectors of the economy saw the highest job losses in May: professional and business services (1,600 jobs) and information (1,100 jobs). Other sectors that lost jobs included leisure and hospitality (700 jobs), other services (500 jobs) and financial activities (400 jobs).
Despite the May losses in the business and professional services, Vilsack notes that employment in that sector is still up 2.5 percent over last year.
These losses were somewhat mitigated by gains in government (200 more jobs), manufacturing (900 more jobs), construction (800 more jobs), education and health services (300 more jobs), and trade, transportation and utilities (200 more jobs).
The mining and logging sector saw no changes either way.