Construction jobs climb in Minnesota during mild winter

Minnesota saw an uptick in construction jobs during the month of January to the tune of 4,200 additional opportunities, according to The Star Tribune.

The first month of the year was warmer than usual, which is one factor that helped the industry increase the amount of paid opportunities. Overall, the state of Minnesota augmented its workforce with 15,000 additional jobs during the month of January, which is nearly half of all jobs lost since the Great Recession began in 2008.

"There is usually an upside and a downside to a mild winter," business economics professor Charles Gray with the University of St. Thomas told the news source, noting the uptick of winter jobs might pull down as strong growth when the weather breaks in April and May.

The Associated Press reports weekly unemployment claims fell last week to 351,000, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Since early fall, unemployment claims have fallen 15 percent. Last week's returns represent the lowest amount of claims since 2008.

Economists forecast employers augmented the U.S. workforce by more than 200,000 last month, representing the third consecutive month of gains.