ST. PAUL (AP) - Minnesota's unemployment rate held steady for a fifth straight month and continues to beat the national average.

Job figures released Thursday show the state's seasonally adjusted unemployed rate held at 3.7 percent in March. That's compared to a 5 percent unemployment rate nationwide.

The Department of Employment and Economic Development says employers dropped 2,900 jobs in March. Still, the state has gained almost 36,000 over the past year, a growth rate of 1.3 percent.

Business services, manufacturing and trade added jobs. Education, the construction and leisure and hospitality sectors lost workers in March.

Department commissioner Katie Clark Sieben says long-term trends point to "steady and consistent" growth in Minnesota.