Minnesota's unemployment rate has dropped below 5 percent for the first time in nearly six years as the state climbs further out of the deep hole caused by the Great Recession.
The Department of Employment and Economic Development reported Thursday that Minnesota's unemployment rate in October was 4.8 percent. That's the same as it was in December 2007, which is generally considered to be the month that the long recession started.
It was three months after that, in March 2008, that Minnesota unemployment jumped above 5 percent and stayed there until last month. It hit a peak of 8.3 percent in April, May and June of 2009, and has been slowly creeping downward since then.
Minnesota has consistently outperformed the national average. In October, the U.S. unemployment rate was 7.3 percent.
The state released figures for September and October on Thursday. The September figures had been delayed by the federal government shutdown. Unemployment fell from 5.1 percent in August to 5 percent in September to 4.8 percent in October.
The department reports that Minnesota employers added 9,900 jobs in October, for a total of nearly 50,000 jobs added in the past year.
Several economic sectors saw particularly strong gains during September and October. Those include education and health services, manufacturing, information, construction, logging and mining, and government. A few sectors lost jobs, including professional and business services, financial activities, trade, transportation and utilities, and leisure and hospitality.
The state's five major metropolitan areas all saw job gains in the past 12 months, with the greatest gains in the Twin Cities followed by St. Cloud, Mankato, Duluth and Rochester.