Dakota County posted a 5.2 percent seasonally-unadjusted jobless rate in February, down eight-tenths of 1 percent from the same month a year earlier, according to data released late last week by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
The county's total workforce was 232,614 with 220,460 people employed and 12,154 unemployed.
Monte Hanson, a DEED spokesman, said recently, "Seasonally unadjusted unemployment numbers tend to jump in January and February because of cold weather (affecting construction and other outdoor jobs) and because of post-Christmas retail layoffs.
"The statewide numbers that come out every month are seasonally adjusted to account for that impact, but there isn’t a big enough survey sample at the county and city level to produce an accurate seasonally adjusted number," Hanson added. "Instead of comparing the change from December to January, a better approach with these numbers is to look year over year."
About a week ago, DEED officials reported Minnesota’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rateremained steady at 5.5 percent. The labor force participation rate has trended slightly upward over the last six months but has fallen to 70.9 percent from January’s 71 percent, they reported.
The U.S. unemployment rate dropped two-tenths of 1 percent to 7.7 percent in February.
In a news release, DEED said, "Minnesota employers added 14,500 jobs in February, bringing total jobs in the state to near the pre-recessionary peak five years ago.
"Minnesota has gained 62,400 jobs over the past year, a growth rate of 2.3 percent, compared with a U.S. growth rate of 1.5 percent during that period," DEED officials said.
Also, over the past six months, Minnesota has gained 50,800 jobs, the largest half-year gain since 1984, DEED said.
“The state labor market is building significant momentum, with all 11 industrial sectors showing healthy job gains over the past year,” DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben said in a news statement. “Nine of those sectors are outpacing the growth rate nationally.”