Even Before Covid-19, Minnesota Logged Small Job Loss

Even Before Covid-19, Minnesota Logged Small Job Loss

State now tops 180,000 unemployment filings since March 16.

Even before the economic upheaval of Covid-19, Minnesota’s job growth largely stalled out during 2019.

On Thursday, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) reported employment statistics for February, which don’t reflect the mounting unemployment filings that the state is seeing in March.

DEED reported that the state lost 4,900 private sector jobs in February while adding 400 government jobs for a total net loss of 4,500 jobs for the month. The state reported the unemployment rate at 3.1 percent. But that number is already irrelevant.

“It’s important to note that February employment numbers don’t reflect the significant impact on Minnesota employment we’ve seen in the past 10 days due to COVID-19,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove in a statement.

From Monday, March 16 through Tuesday, March 25 at 8 p.m. the state received an overwhelming 182,610 applications for unemployment insurance. For the month of February, the state received 15,068 claims for unemployment insurance. Just yesterday, the state saw 17,255 new or reactivated applications for unemployment insurance.

Gov. Tim Walz’s ordered shutdown of bars and restaurants helped drive a flood of new unemployment claims. But many other industries are also feeling the effects of COVID-19.

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that 3.3 million Americans filed for jobless benefits last week alone.

From February 2019 through February 2020 the state added just 2,315 jobs. That works out to adding slightly less than 200 jobs per month over the last year.

But a closer look at the numbers is more discouraging. Over the last year the state lost 1,618 private sector jobs while adding 3,933 government jobs. Minnesota’s job numbers over the last year were only positive due to the addition of government jobs.

According to DEED’s data, the Twin Cities metro area lost 900 jobs over the last year.