Notebook: State Gets Jobs Back

By Don Davis

Minnesota regained 1,200 jobs in August, pushing the state past the high mark it reached before the recession.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced Thursday that the state has more jobs than in February of 2008, the record level before the country fell into a recession.

Minnesota added 63,100 jobs in the past year alone for a 2.3 percent growth rate, compared to the national 1.7 percent rate.

“August’s employment numbers mark a major milestone in the recovery of Minnesota’s economy,” DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben said.

At the same time, the state’s unemployment rate dropped a bit to 5.1 percent last month, better than the national 7.3 percent rate.

“We still have too many who are out of work, too many people who are unemployed or underemployed,” Gov. Mark Dayton said. “We’re going to redouble our efforts, we’re going to keep making overtures to every business we can to put these projects together so that more and more Minnesotans … have better jobs and better opportunities in the future.”

While logging and mining employment held steady, most industrial sectors posted higher August job totals. However, manufacturing lost jobs, as did professional and business services.

Manufacturing is the only sector to lose jobs (5,100) in the past year.

Most metropolitan areas grew jobs in the past year, but the Duluth-Superior area fell 0.1 percent.

Businesses grow

Minnesota added businesses last month, continuing growth experienced in the past year.

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie reported that his office accepted filings from 4,198 new businesses last month, the latest of 39,883 new businesses this year.

August showed the smallest growth so far this year. The best month was March, when the secretary of state’s office received 5,548 new business filings.

Juvenile crimes down

The number of juvenile-committed crimes has dropped to levels rarely been seen in recent years.

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Office of Justice Programs reported Thursday that the number of juvenile arrests fell 55 percent from a record high of 79,584 in 1998.

“This is obviously a trend that we hope continues on a downward course for years to come; however, the data also highlights areas that remain a concern, such as racial disparity in the juvenile justice system,” Public Safety’s Raeone Magnuson said.

‘Make music’

Gov. Mark Dayton and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak Thursday told Minnesota Orchestra musicians and management to resume face-to-face talks and resume making music.

Management locked out musicians last October and while the two sides are talking to a mediator, they are not talking to each other.

“The future of the Minnesota Orchestra is at stake,” Rybak said as he and Dayton publically said what they already have told the two sides in private: Begin serious negotiations. “Simply get in a room and talk to each other.”

Dayton said management and musicians are ignoring the public interest in the protracted dispute.

The dispute, the longest-ever lockout of a major American orchestra, centers on pay and work rules.