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Minnesota unemployment sinks again

Minnesota gains jobs for the eighth straight month while labor force participation rises again.

3 mins read

The unemployment rate ticked down two-tenths of a point to 2% in May 2022 — a new record low since the metric has been tracked in 1976, according to numbers released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

The decline in the unemployment rate over the month was entirely due to people moving from unemployment to employment. The labor force participation rate rose from 68.3% to 68.4%.

Nationally, the unemployment rate stayed the same at 3.6% and the labor force participation rate ticked up a tenth of a point to 62.3%.

Minnesota has now gained jobs for eight months in a row. Minnesota gained 6,600 jobs in May, up 0.2% in the last month on a seasonally adjusted basis following the addition of 11,700 jobs (revised down from 11,900) in April. The private sector gained 7,500 jobs, up 0.3%, up from 11,000 in April (revised up from 10,600).

The U.S. gained 390,000 jobs, up 0.3% from April to May, with the private sector adding 333,000 jobs, also up 0.3% on a seasonally adjusted basis.

“Minnesota’s on course to continue adding jobs – if employers can find workers to fill them. We’re still down more than 75,000 people in our labor force since before the pandemic.” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “That’s why we’ve launched our “Summer of Jobs” campaign to highlight the many opportunities in the job market, and to help employers find workers in labor pools they may have previously overlooked.”

DEED is continuing the Summer of Jobs campaign to highlight opportunities for employers and job-seekers across Minnesota. The campaign includes job shadowing some of the best-paying in-demand jobs available in the state, to highlight opportunities in manufacturing, healthcare, technology and beyond. It will also share best practices and opportunities for employers to find talent in groups too often overlooked, such as immigrant communities, Minnesotans with disabilities, and people recently released from correctional facilities.

The campaign kicked off in Mankato this week, where Commissioner Grove shadowed a welder named Tealy Krosch at Jones Metal, and met with Schwickerts Construction, a company that has seen strong results in recruiting workers from Puerto Rico to move to Minnesota. The campaign will continue with stops in Owatonna and Duluth over the coming weeks.

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. Both Black and Hispanic Minnesotans have higher labor force participation rates than white Minnesotans, at 69.9% for Black Minnesotans and 79.6% for Hispanic Minnesotans and 68.4% for white Minnesotans.

Over the month, several Minnesota supersectors gained or lost a significant number of jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis:

  • Gains were in Construction (up 4,100), Manufacturing (up 1,100), Professional & Business Services (up 2,500), and Educational & Health Services (up 3,200).
  • Losses were in Leisure & Hospitality (down 4,300 jobs), Government (down 900 jobs), and Retail Trade (down 800 jobs).

Over the year, Minnesota gained 73,017 payroll jobs, up 2.6%, with the private sector gaining 73,525 jobs, up 3.0%.

Supersectors that posted strong over-the-year growth are Manufacturing, Professional & Business Services, Leisure & Hospitality and Other Services.

  • Manufacturing posted 16,696 additional jobs (5.4%). All sectors were up; Non-Durable Goods employment grew 6,993 jobs (6.3%) while their counterparts in Durable Goods were up 9,703 jobs (4.9%).
  • Professional & Business Services grew 12,264 jobs (3.3%). Sectors that led the growth were Professional, Scientific, & Technical Services, up 7,753 jobs (4.9%), and Administrative & Support and Waste Management & Remediation Services, up 4,896 jobs (3.8%).
  • Leisure & Hospitality continued to post the highest growth of all the supersectors, up 25,564 jobs (11.1%). Arts, Entertainment, & Recreation added 4,002 jobs (10.3%). Accommodation & Food Services grew by 21,562 jobs (11.3%).

Two supersectors posted small negative annual growth, Mining & Logging, down 91 jobs (1.4%) and Government down 506 jobs (0.1%).

U.S. employment grew 4.4% over the year, with the private sector up 4.8%.

Minnesota lost 417,600 jobs from February through April 2020 and has since gained 335,900 jobs as of May 2022, or 80% of the jobs lost on a seasonally adjusted basis. The private sector has regained 330,600 jobs, or 85% of the jobs lost.

In Minnesota and across the nation, wages are not currently keeping up with the rate of inflation. Over the year average hourly earnings rose $1.12, up 3.4%, less than half of the increase in consumer prices over the same period. According to numbers released last week by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Minneapolis-St. Paul saw a Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase of 8.7% over May last year. Nationally, private sector wages increased to $32.12, up 5.5% over the year, with the national average urban CPI up 8.6% in the same time period.

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