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Minn. Unemployment Holds Steady, Still Passes Major Milestone

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ Minnesota's labor force now tops 3 million.

The Department of Employment and Economic Development showcased the figure Thursday as they released jobs figures for March. Their report says 2,600 jobs were added last month. It left the unemployment rate unchanged from February at 4.8%.

Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben says Minnesota has 33,000 more jobs than its all-time employment peak. Many job sectors the state tracks saw hires in March. Losses came in leisure and hospitality, transportation and utilities, and education and health services.

The state has recovered from the last recession faster than the nation at large. The U.S. unemployment rate for March was 6.7%.

The Mankato Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) saw strong gains from March 2013 to March 2014, seeing a 2.1% increase year-to-year in jobs.  That equated to 1,120 new jobs in the Mankato area year-to-year.  That rate is second only to the St. Cloud MSA, which saw a 2.2% gain, and saw 2,243 new jobs.  The Rochester MSA was the only area to lose jobs year-to-year as it shed 233 jobs, a loss of 0.2% of its jobs.