A Mixed Bag: Minnesota’s October Jobs Report

A Mixed Bag: Minnesota’s October Jobs Report

The state’s unemployment rate again fell in October, but that’s only because its labor force participation rate also declined.

As Minnesota’s unemployment rate continues to drop, so does the number of people dropping out of the workforce.

In October, the state’s unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent, down from nearly 6 percent in September. But that came at the same time that Minnesota’s labor force participation dropped a full percentage point to 67.4 percent.

In a news release issued late last week, state officials said the drop in unemployment rate was due “entirely” to a decline in labor force participation. It’s a trend that held true in September job figures, too. In fact, Steve Grove, commissioner of Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development, last month told reporters that the state’s September labor force participation rate was at its lowest point since 1978.

Meanwhile, the state is reporting modest job growth, but it’s not enough to offset losses. In October, Minnesota reported 13,200 payroll jobs, nearly all of which were in the private sector. For perspective, between February and April, the state lost more than 387,000 jobs, though it’s now gained back more than half of them.

Where have some of the new jobs come from? According to the state, jobs in trade, transportation, and utilities led the way with 4,600 new jobs in October. Surprisingly, the hospitality industry logged an increase of 3,900 jobs for the month.

Of course, the latest jobs report came out a day after Gov. Tim Walz again shut down indoor dining at bars and restaurants for the next four weeks — a development that will likely lead to more hospitality-related job losses in the days ahead.

But it’s worth noting that Minnesota is still faring better than the rest of the country in terms of unemployment. In October, the national unemployment rate sat at 6.9 percent. The nation’s labor force participation rate also came in lower than Minnesota’s at nearly 62 percent.