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St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - Minnesota's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continued to improve last month but total employment is still over 110,000 below the level reported a year ago.

The jobless rate fell from a revised 4.4 percent in February to 4.2 percent in March. It was the lowest the rate has been since March of last year when the statewide unemployment rate was 3.5 percent.

While the state saw a net gain of about 21,600 jobs last month, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development says the drop in the jobless rate was mainly due to people leaving the labor force. Minnesota's labor force participation rate is still one of the highest in the nation, but it fell again in March to 67.8 percent. Prior to the pandemic, the state's labor force participation rate was over 70 percent. The largest job gains were in the construction sector, while the largest losses involved government jobs.

A news release from DEED indicates Minnesota's economy shed over 416,000 jobs last year during the first three months of the recession blamed on the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the state’s economy has regained over 225,000 jobs or about 54 percent of the jobs lost on a seasonally adjusted basis.

The report also shows employment in the Rochester area is still 4.6 percent or almost 5700 lower than it was a year ago. Employment in the Twin Cities remains down 6.7 percent.

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