By Christiane Cordero

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota’s unemployment rate hit 2.8 percent in September 2018, the lowest it’s been since 1999, and almost three times lower than peak unemployment hit in 2009, during the recession.

“We lost about 160,000 job during the so-called great recession,” said Department of Employment and Economic Development’s research director, Steve Hine. “Since then, we’ve added over 360,000 over that nine-plus year period.”

He points to growth in hospitality, health care, manufacturing and construction-related jobs. He cites construction job numbers almost as high as they were before the housing bubble burst in 2006.

Hine doesn’t anticipate unemployment rate dropping much further, if at all. He says the bigger measure of success will be whether Minnesota can sustain it.

“There are a number of factors that, barring a downturn in the economy, should keep us around this rate,” said Hine. “First and foremost is that our population and our workforce are aging. The peak of the baby boom generation are going to be turning 65 in the next couple of years.”

The workforce could change significantly once baby boomers retire. Younger generations will only fill the gaps that serve as the best fit, and other sectors, such as home care, which could grow with an aging population.

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