St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - Despite robust hiring by the Mayo Clinic, the latest jobs data from the state shows the overall number of jobs in the Rochester area declined slightly last year.

The statistic is included in the monthly unemployment report from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, which shows the seasonally adjusted jobless rate for the state was unchanged in December at 2.8-percent. The state’s jobless rate has now been steady for four straight months at a level that is only slightly above the all-time record low of 2.5-percent set at the beginning of 1999.

The report indicates Minnesota saw a net gain of about 500 jobs in December and the net loss from November was revised from about 800 to around 1000. During the past year, the state saw a net gain of almost 31,500 jobs, which works out to a job growth rate of 1.1-percent. By comparison, the national average was 1.8-percent.

Rochester had a negative rate in 2018. State officials say the local metropolitan area experienced a net loss of almost 250 jobs during the past 12 months. Nearly all of the job growth the state occurred in the Twin Cities, which added over 31,000 jobs. Mankato enjoyed the strongest job growth rate at four-percent.

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