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Minnesota unemployment rate dips to 4.3 percent in February

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St. Paul – Minnesota’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 4.3 percent in February, down from 4.5 percent in January, according to numbers released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). The decline in the unemployment rate was due to more people finding work and a decrease in the number of unemployed people, which resulted in another decline in the number of people engaged in Minnesota’s labor force. 

Minnesota’s labor force participation rate fell by a tenth of a point to 67.8 percent in February. It was 70.2 percent in February 2020, immediately before the start of the pandemic. Nationally, the unemployment rate fell one-tenth to 6.2 percent in February, with labor force participation staying level at 61.4 percent. 

Minnesota gained 13,900 jobs, up 0.5 percent, in February on a seasonally adjusted basis. This is 200 jobs short of the peak pandemic recovery employment in October 2020. The private sector gained 11,000 jobs in February, up 0.5 percent over the month, bringing private sector employment 300 jobs above peak pandemic employment reached in October.  

The U.S. gained 379,000 jobs, up 0.3 percent over the month, in February on a seasonally adjusted basis. 

The deepest impacts of the pandemic are felt by Minnesotans from Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities. Based on 12-month moving averages, the unemployment rate for Black Minnesotans was 9.2 percent in February, down from 9.5 percent in January and up from 4.5 percent one year ago. The Latinx unemployment rate was 7.5 percent in February up from 7.3 percent in January and up from 5.0 percent one year ago. White Minnesotans were at 5.9 percent in February, up from 5.8 percent in January and up from 3.0 percent one year ago. 

“We are moving in the right direction, but we still have a lot of runway ahead for job growth,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “Given the uneven effects of the pandemic on our economy, many unemployed Minnesotans will need to consider new career opportunities from the ones they left. At DEED, we’re calling thousands of unemployed Minnesotans every week, letting them know about training to help prepare for in-demand jobs. There are manyemployers hiring right now.”  

Five supersectors gained jobs, five lost jobs and Professional and Business Services held steady over the month in Minnesota.   

  • Gains were in Leisure & Hospitality, up another 13,500 jobs or 6.9 percent over the month, followed by Government, up 2,900 jobs or 0.7 percent, Educational & Health Services, up 2,000 or 0.4 percent, Trade, Transportation and Utilities, up 1,700 or 0.3 percent, and Financial Activities, up 600 or 0.3 percent. 
  • Losses were in Construction, down 3,300 jobs or 2.7 percent, Other Services,down 1,700 jobs or 1.7 percent, Manufacturing, down 1,600 jobs or 0.5 percent, Information, down 200 jobs or 0.5 percent, and Logging and Mining, down 100 jobs or 1.6 percent. 

Minnesota lost 416,300 jobs from February through April 2020 and since April has gained 205,100 jobs, or 49.3% of the jobs lost on a seasonally adjusted basis. The private sector has regained 50.7 percent of the jobs lost.  

Over the year in February, Minnesota shed 213,532 payroll jobs, down 7.2 percent. U.S. over-the-year job loss stood at 6.0 percent for both total nonfarm and private sector employment in February, a slight improvement from January. All supersectors continued to show over-the-year job loss in Minnesota and nationally. 

Over-the-year job losses were still greatest in Leisure and Hospitality, down 26.1 percent or 68,441 jobs. Other supersectors with a high share of job losses were Other Services, down 12.5 percent or 14,182 jobs, Information, down 12.4 percent or 5,675 jobs, Construction, down 8.0 percent or 8,788 jobs, Logging and Mining, down 7.9 percent or 496 jobs, and Professional and Business Services, down 7.2 percent or 27,212 jobs. All other supersectors are down less than 6 percent. Four supersectors in Minnesota showed strength over the year compared to the U.S.: 

  • Logging and Mining job loss in Minnesota remains below U.S. job loss,down 7.9 percent in Minnesota compared to 13.6 percent nationally.   
  • Financial Activities is now only 0.5 percent or 901 jobs below where it was in February 2020 in Minnesota. Nationally the industry remains down 1 percent over the year. Minnesota’s strengths are in financial activities and insurance. Finance and Insurance is 620 jobs above where it was one year ago in Minnesota.  
  • Employment in Education and Health Services is down 4.5 percent in Minnesota compared to 5.3 percent nationally. In Minnesota, strength is in Educational Services (non-public is down 6.6 percent in Minnesota and 10.2 percent nationally) as well as Nursing and Residential Care Facilities (down 3.1 percent in Minnesotaand 9.2 percent nationally).  
  • Employment in Government is down 4.6 percent in Minnesota compared to 5.9 percent nationally.  Strength here is across the board but particularly in state government education (down 4.1 percent in Minnesota compared to 11.9 percent nationally) and local government education (down 6.9 percent in Minnesota and 8 percent nationally). 

Employment fell in February over the year in all Minnesota Metropolitan Statistical Areas.  

Ron Troupe

Ron Troupe is the Daily Planet's top political and economic journalist. He is an award winning reporter with a more careful and meticulous approach towards his pieces. Ron prides himself on truth and integrity and is extremely intelligent.

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