ST. PAUL  (AP) - Minnesota's state government shutdown boosted the unemployment rate last month as the state lost a net 19,800 jobs, mostly due to the government closure.

The Department of Employment and Economic Development on Thursday reported a 7.2 percent jobless rate for July, up from 6.8 percent in June.

State agencies laid off 22,000 workers when political leaders failed to pass a budget on time. Those employees were idled for 20 days in the nation's longest state government shutdown in at least a decade.

DEED Commissioner Mark Phillips says the shutdown masked underlying job growth, with the private sector adding more than 8,000 jobs.

Governments cut 28,000 positions, while manufacturers, professional services and the financial sectors added jobs.

Minnesota's jobless rate still remains well below the national unemployment rate of 9.1 percent.

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