— The number of jobs in Blue Earth and Nicollet counties fell by 348 in May, a decline of .6 percent, led by a drop in the government sector.
The area's year-to-year change is still positive, a .6 percent increase, but is continuing to slow from the first-quarter average of 3.6 percent.
Statewide, employers shed 900 jobs, leaving the unemployment rate flat at a seasonally adjusted rate of 5.6 percent. Government was the strong spot statewide, as it added 1,200 jobs, a .3 percent increase from April.
It was the third straight month of statewide job losses, for a three-month total of 1,800. That figure includes a revision to April's estimate from 3,100 lobs lost to 900 jobst lost.
In the three months before that, through December of last year, state employers added a seasonally adjusted total of 31,900 jobs.
In a Thursday morning conference call with reporters, state Chief Labor Market Analyst Steve Hine said it was too soon to know whether the three-month soft period represents a worrisome long-term trend.
He also said Mankato appears to be losing some steam. The area's year-to-year job figures had been outperforming its peers, but May's numbers brought it more in line with state averages.