The state's unemployment rate took a hit on Thursday after a new report showed 2,000 jobs were lost in August, but state measurements of job vacancies show there are still openings to be found.
The current unemployment rate in Minnesota is now 5.9 percent, which is still significantly lower than the national average of 8.1 percent -- but the job numbers are a sobering reminder that the economy is still fragile.
A net loss of 2,000 jobs was seen in August, and July's numbers were also revised downward by 2,000 as well; however, the job vacancies that are measured every six months by the state show that there were 63,000 open jobs in the state in the first quarter.
A second measurement, the Help Wanted Online Survey, found that there were 120,000 open jobs in August -- so if there are that many gigs available, why aren't people hiring?
"That's an outstanding question in that it's a good one and that it's still not answered," Steve Hine, employment research director at the Department of Employment and Economic Development.
Hine explained that the vacancies and online survey are leading indicators that show how hires today translate into jobs in the next month or the month immediately following.
"I'll be very anxious to see whether September, October show stronger job growth than we saw in August," he said.
So where are the jobs? The job grown numbers from August show health services grew 2.5 percent, and information jobs -- including publishing, software and telecom positions -- grew by 3.5 percent.
The biggest player was a category called business services, which includes temporary agencies -- and Larry Curry, a job counselor with the Minnesota Workforce Center, said that's where jobseekers should focus.
"What I tell the clients here is, 'Utilize the agencies.' That helps to close that gap in your resume," he explained. "Plus, it shows that you're active. You've got an income coming in. You'll probably get more than you'll get on unemployment, and plus, you get other work skills."
According to Curry, many of he businesses he speaks with are holding off on hiring until after the first of the year to see what happens with the economy.