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Minnesota logs sixth straight month of job growth

Job Growth outpaces the nation overall in March and unemployment rates dropped to 2.5%, according to DEED.

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Minnesota gained 11,500 jobs, up 0.4% in the last month on a seasonally adjusted basis following the addition of 13,000 (revised up from 5,200) jobs in February 2022, according to numbers released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

The private sector gained 11,000 jobs, up 0.4% following the addition of 12,800 (revised up from 5,100) jobs in February. This is the sixth straight month that Minnesota has seen job growth.

Minnesota’s labor force participation rate rose from 67.9% to 68.1% and the unemployment rate ticked down two-tenths of a point to 2.5% in March 2022 from 2.7% in February 2022, a tie with its lowest level ever recorded, in February 1999. The decline over-the-month was entirely due to people moving from unemployment to employment. Nationally, the labor force participation rate ticked up 0.1% to 62.4% and the unemployment rate fell two-tenths of a percentage point to 3.6%.

“It’s good news for Minnesota that more people returning to the labor force as job growth continues to surge,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “However, many Minnesotans who want to work are not connecting with stable employment. DEED is working to build bridges between employers and communities that are too often overlooked – workers of colors, workers with disabilities, and new immigrants – to empower the growth of the Minnesota economy for everyone.”

Minnesota lost 417,600 jobs from February through April 2020 and has since gained 315,900 jobs as of March 2022, or 76% of the jobs lost on a seasonally adjusted basis. The private sector has regained 310,900 jobs, or 80% of the jobs lost.

The U.S. gained 431,000 jobs, up 0.3% from February to March 2022, with the private sector adding 426,000 jobs, also up 0.3% on a seasonally adjusted basis.

Over the month in Minnesota, ten supersectors gained jobs and one lost jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis in March.

Gains were in Mining and Logging (up 100 jobs), Construction (up 100), Manufacturing (up 2,300), Trade, Transportation, and Utilities (up 2,000), Information (up 500), Financial Activities (up 1,800), Professional and Business Services (up 700), Educational and Health Services (up 900), Leisure and Hospitality (up 1,100), and Government (up 100). Other Services lost 200 jobs, a 0.2% drop.

Over the year, Minnesota gained 68,540 payroll jobs, up 2.5%, over the year. The private sector gained 67,584 jobs, up 2.8% over the year. For pre-pandemic comparison, these gains put total nonfarm employment 77,874 jobs short of March 2020 employment, and 53,351 jobs short in the private sector.

Nine supersectors saw positive over-the-year growth, especially Leisure and Hospitality up 36,198 jobs (18.1%); Other Services up 3,872 jobs (3.8%); and Manufacturing up 12,944 (4.2%).

Two supersectors posted declines over the year, Financial Activities down 1,562 (0.8%) and Education and Health Services, down 326 jobs (0.1%).

February job revisions were largest in Trade, Transportation and Utilities – up 3,300 jobs more than originally estimated – with Retail Trade up 2,800 jobs, Leisure and Hospitality up 2,800 jobs, and Manufacturing up 1,300 jobs. Information and Financial Activities were each down 300 jobs. We’re seeing larger revisions than usual as the economy is quickly recovering and job numbers are quickly changing across many industries.

U.S. employment grew 4.6% over the year with the private sector up 5.0% in March. All supersectors showed gains over the year with the exception of Mining and Logging, which was down 14,000 jobs (2.3%). Four supersectors in Minnesota showed strength over the year compared to the U.S.: Leisure and Hospitality, Other Services, Manufacturing, and Mining and Logging.

Employment recovery has not been consistent for all Minnesotans. Black and Hispanic Minnesotans continue to experience higher unemployment rates than white Minnesotans, as shown in the table below. Unemployment by race is based on 12-month moving averages to help even out inconsistencies due to small sample sizes.

recent report from DEED’s Labor Market Information office shows that despite the ongoing jobs recovery, some Minnesotans are being left behind in returning to stable employment, especially those who are Black, over age 55, and/or have lower levels of educational attainment. The same challenges that hindered certain workers from accessing stable employment at living wages before the pandemic –including racial disparities, education achievement gaps, and other barriers such as older age – continue to prevent them from reentering the labor market.

In Minnesota and across the nation, wages are not currently keeping up with the rate of inflation. In Minnesota, the average hourly wage increase for all private sector workers, at 4.9% over the year, was almost half of 8.5% inflation in March 2022. Over two years the comparison was 6.3% for private sector wages in MN compared to 11.4% inflation. Nationally private sector wages rose 5.8% over the year and 9.6% over two years.

High-demand, low-wage jobs are seeing greater average wage increases in many cases:

The average wage for production workers in Nursing and Residential Care Facilities, at $21.62 in March 2022, rose 13.8% over the year and 13.8% over two years.

The average wage for production workers in Food Services and Drinking Places, at $16.76 in March 2022, rose 10.3% over the year and 17.0% over two years. This is a decline from its highest point in December 2021.

The average hourly wage for production workers in Retail Trade had shown a slight decline in late 2021 and is growing slower so far this year. At $18.66 in March 2022, the average wage grew 2.5% over the year, but grew 14.3% over 2 years.

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