ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Minnesota lost 11,400 jobs in April, and state officials are attributing part of the drop to the persistent wintry weather.
The Department of Employment and Economic Development says the cold, snowy April slowed hiring in seasonally sensitive sectors including construction, leisure and hospitality, and local government. The biggest job losses were in trade, transportation and utilities.
Steve Hine, director of the state's labor market information office, says the federal budget sequestration cuts may have played a role, too.
Despite the job losses, Minnesota's unemployment rate improved a tenth of a point to 5.3 percent in April. That's the lowest rate since May 2008.
Also, the state's total number of unemployed people dropped to 159,000, the first time that number has fallen below 160,000 since June 2008.