MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota added 9,100 jobs in December, bringing unemployment rates in the state down to levels not seen since before the financial crisis of 2008.

“We had another strong month,” said labor analyst Steve Hine of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

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Hine says Minnesota’s 9,100 new jobs in December brought the unemployment rate down a notch to 5.5 percent. Also, DEED revised figures from November, raising the total jobs gained that month from 10,800 to 12,300.

“That’s the lowest rate since August 2008, which was the month before the financial market meltdown,” Hine said.

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Minnesota added more than 50,000 jobs last year and now has regained more than 70 percent of the jobs it lost during the recession. The state’s growth rate of 1.9 percent compares favorably against the national growth rate of 1.4 percent.

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“The state labor market is growing at a brisk pace, gaining more than 21,000 jobs in the final two months of 2012,” DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben said. “Minnesota is recovering jobs well ahead of the rest of the country and is positioned to stay on that course in coming months.”