ST. PAUL - Minnesota employers added 14,500 jobs in February, bringing total jobs in the state to near the pre-recessionary peak five years ago, according to figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

The February gains combined with January figures that were revised upward by 1,400 jobs means the state is just 1,000 jobs short of its previous high point for jobs in February 2008. Minnesota has gained 62,400 jobs over the past year, a growth rate of 2.3 percent, compared with a U.S. growth rate of 1.5 percent during that period.

Over the past six months the state has gained 50,800 jobs, the largest half-year gain since 1984.  The state's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 5.5 percent in February was unchanged from January's revised rate. The U.S. jobless rate in February was 7.7 percent.

"The state labor market is building significant momentum, with all 11 industrial sectors showing healthy job gains over the past year," said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben. "Nine of those sectors are outpacing the growth rate nationally."

Professional and business services led all sectors in February with 6,800 new jobs. Other sectors that added jobs were leisure and hospitality (up 3,200), education and health services (up 1,900), financial activities (up 1,700), construction (up 1,400), trade, transportation and utilities (up 1,300), and logging and mining (up 100). Other services held steady.

Job losses occurred in February in government (down 1,000), manufacturing (down 800) and information (down 100).

Over the past year, trade, transportation and utilities added the most jobs, growing by 15,200. The other sectors that added jobs were education and health services (up 13,100), professional and business services (up 12,300), government (up 5,300), financial activities (up 3,600), manufacturing (up 3,400), leisure and hospitality (up 3,300), information (up 2,200), other services (up 1,900), construction (up 1,900), and logging and mining (up 300).

In the state Metropolitan Statistical Areas, job gains occurred in the past 12 months in the Minneapolis-St. Paul MSA (up 2.4 percent), Mankato MSA (up 2.2 percent), Rochester MSA (up 1.6 percent), St. Cloud MSA (up 1.5 percent) and Duluth-Superior MSA (up 1.2 percent).

DEED is the state's principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more details about the agency and our services, visit us at . Follow us on Twitter at

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