MANKATO — The private sector fueled job growth locally with the region adding 1.9 percent to the workforce compared to a year earlier.
There were 53,249 jobs in January in the Mankato-North Mankato Metropolitan Statistical Area (Blue Earth and Nicollet counties). The private sector added 2.1 percent while government added 1 percent.
The job numbers are approaching the highest employment level recorded in the region in the month of January. There were a record 53,406 jobs in January 2008.
Meanwhile, the state Department of Employment and Economic Development reported that Minnesota’s unemployment rate ticked up slightly in January. Still, state officials say the state has more than 12,000 new jobs compared to a year earlier.
The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was two-tenths of a percent higher than in December, but as usual outperformed the national unemployment rate of 7.9 percent.
The 11 industrial sectors tracked by the agency all showed year-over-year growth rates for the first time since 2000.
Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben said in a news release that with the current rate of growth, the state will soon have recovered all jobs lost in the recession. The biggest gains came in the trade, transportation and utilities sector. Other leaders were construction, and leisure and hospitality.
Unemployment information for counties won’t be released until next week.