Minnesota is outpacing the nation in job growth, pulling within 1,000 jobs of having regained all of the jobs that were lost in the recession.
Minnesota added 14,500 jobs in February. Combined with the 13,500 jobs gained in January, the state had its best two months on record. Over the past six months, Minnesota has added 50,800 jobs -- also a record for the time period.
Steve Hine, research director for the Department of Employment and Economic Development, said the two-month surge was unexpected..
"As we look toward spring and the seasonal hiring that accompanies warmer weather, there's additional reason to be optimistic," he said. "Housing market conditions as measured by building permits, housing starts, sales levels and prices, and other indicators suggest that the construction trades should fare well in the coming months."
Minnesota has gained more than 62,000 jobs over the past year, but that doesn't mean that finding work is getting easier.
"Nobody seems to be hiring at this time," said job hunter Melissa Compton.
Although Compton knows exactly what she's looking for, she told FOX 9 News she's spent the last six months looking.
"I would like full time, but if I can start out at part time and work my way up," she said. "I've applied almost everywhere in Shakopee."
Canterbury Park employers conducted on-the-spot interviews at a job fair on Thursday to fill 400 seasonal jobs for the upcoming race season -- but although temporary jobs are usually a good indicator of where full-time jobs are going, that doesn't mean they're easy to land.
"I have noticed, with the economy, you definitely have to put a lot of effort into finding a job," said Sam Kelzer.
Paul DeBettignes, of MN Headhunter, keeps a close eye on trends in the job market, and he says unemployment rates differ based on level of education.
"The unemployment rate for college graduates is 4 percent. Those with some college, it gets into the upper sixes. If you start getting into just high school degrees, it's 8 and 9 percent," he explained.
Even so, DeBettignes says the state has kept up with population changes.
Nationally, the country has only regained 65 percent of the nearly 9 million jobs lost in the recession. Experts say Minnesota has fared better because of its diverse economy, including an industrial sector showing strong gains. Other sectors that continue to do well include:
Utilities, trade and transportation industries are also seeing an increase in growth.
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