MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota’s unemployment rate increased slightly in February for the second consecutive month as brutal winter weather idled more than 6,000 construction workers.

The state Department of Employment and Economic Development says the jobless rate last month was 3.1 percent, inching up from 3 percent in January.

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In addition to the loss of 6,200 construction jobs last month, Minnesota’s professional and business services sector lost 3,500 jobs. But, leisure and hospitality employers added about 3,900 jobs and financial companies added about 2,500.

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The labor department’s leader, Steve Grove, says Minnesota’s employers are also contending with slow growth in the labor force and there can’t be job gains without people to fill the positions.

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