St Paul  - Minnesota’s economy keeps chugging along and is setting some job-related records as a result.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) reports employers around the state reported a record 142,282 job vacancies in the second quarter, up 15.7 percent from the same period a year ago. DEED says its biannual Job Vacancy Survey found the state had .6 unemployed people for every job vacancy. The job vacancy rate was 5.2 percent, meaning there were 5.2 openings for every 100 jobs in the state. The number of unemployed people per vacancy was a record low, while the job vacancy rate was a record high.

"These figures reflect a very strong economy and high demand for labor statewide," said DEED Commissioner Shawntera Hardy. "At the same time, they underscore the need for DEED and its partners to continue investing in training programs, specifically for Minnesotans on the economic sidelines, to meet the talent needs of employers and to ensure that the economy continues to grow."

Statewide, the health care and social assistance industry accounted for 17 percent of vacancies, followed by accommodation and food services (16 percent), retail trade (12 percent), manufacturing (8 percent), and educational services and construction (5 percent each).

The occupations with the most job vacancies were food preparation and serving, with 7,600 vacancies, followed by retail sales with 7,100 vacancies and personal care with 6,700 vacancies.

The following were other findings of the study:

1. Thirty-eight percent of job vacancies were for part-time employment. Part-time is defined as fewer than 35 hours per week.

2. Twelve percent of job vacancies were for temporary or seasonal work.

3. Thirty-one percent of vacancies required some level of postsecondary education or training beyond a high school diploma.

4. Forty-six percent of job vacancies required one or more years of work experience.

5. The median (50th percentile) wage offer for all job vacancies was $14.54 per hour. Wage offers are highly correlated with experience and education requirements. On average, the more education and/or experience required, the higher the wage offer.

6. Fifty-six percent of vacancies offered health insurance. Health care benefits are less common for part-time job vacancies than for full-time job vacancies.

DEED is also reporting Minnesota’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 2.9 percent in August, the first time it slipped below 3-percent since December 1999. Over the past year, the state has added 50,904 jobs, a 1.7 percent growth rate.

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