ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota’s unemployment rate has dropped again, coming in at 3.8 percent in September. But state officials said Thursday that job losses clouded the employment picture.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has been below 4 percent for seven out of nine months this year, according to statistics maintained by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. The Minnesota rate compares to a national average of 5.1 percent for last month.

In its monthly snapshot, the agency also reported that 5,700 jobs were lost during the month but that the state has added 35,000 over the past year. Only leisure, hospitality and business service sectors added jobs and all other sectors were down.

The latest figures estimate that roughly 114,000 people considered part of the labor force are without a job. The labor force participation rate is at 69.7 percent. That’s made for a tight labor force that could hinder Minnesota’s future economic growth.

“We and the nation are well into that time period where job growth is going to be constrained by the lack of warm bodies to fill positions,” department research director Steve Hine said.

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