Minnesota gained 19,100 new jobs in July, but lost 2,320 workers

Last week I wrote about how employment growth in the United States had stalled since March. While one set of statistics, those that count jobs, has shown strong growth since then, another set, which counts workers, has not. The difference can be explained by a growing number of people holding multiple jobs.

What is the story in Minnesota?

As Figure 1 shows, the Establishment survey — which measures jobs — shows strong job growth for Minnesota. So, too, does the Household survey. But notice how, from June to July, the number of jobs rose by 19,100 — a fact gleefully reported by the state’s media — while the number of people employed in the state fell by 2,320, a fact that got rather less coverage.

Figure 1: Employment, Establishment survey and Household survey, thousands

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

As at the national level, one would assume that these two facts are to be reconciled by a larger number of workers holding multiple jobs. That explains why the number of jobs grew at the same time that the share of the population in employment actually ticked down by 0.1 percentage points.

This is what we have seen at the national level since March and it will be interesting to see if it persists in Minnesota. Job growth generally is a good thing if it is bringing more people into employment, but if it is a result of people struggling to make ends meet then it is a symptom of something problematic. Hopefully Minnesota’s media will take a broader look at the employment figures from here on out.