Minnesota Adds Jobs in February, But Recovery Remains Uneven
A masked server in St. Paul jots down an order. Steve Skjold / Shutterstock.com

Minnesota Adds Jobs in February, But Recovery Remains Uneven

“Uneven effects of the pandemic” still a factor.
A masked server in St. Paul jots down an order. Steve Skjold / Shutterstock.com

The state of Minnesota added 13,900 jobs in February as the state unemployment rate dropped to 4.3 percent. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) released the latest numbers on Thursday morning.

While the new jobs are a good sign, the February numbers pale in comparison to the addition of 51,800 jobs that DEED reported for January.

“We are moving in the right direction, but we still have a lot of runway ahead for job growth,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove in a statement. “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 many employers hiring right now.”

February gains were led by the leisure and hospitality sector, which has been the hardest hit during the pandemic.

  • Leisure & Hospitality: +13,500
  • Government: +2,900
  • Educational & Health Services: +2,000
  • Trade, Transportation & Utilities: +1,700
  • Financial Activities +600

“I think we can safety say the hospitality industry is having a comeback,” said Grove in a virtual press conference after the release of the numbers.

While those five sectors added a combined total of 20,700 jobs for the month, those gains were offset by losses in other sectors. Construction and manufacturing were among those taking the biggest hits:

  • Construction: (-3,300)
  • Other Services: (-1,700)
  • Manufacturing: (-1,600)
  • Information: (-200)
  • Logging & Mining: (-100)

Grove noted that it was not clear, for example, why the manufacturing sector lost jobs.

“We’re still looking into why that is,” he said.

In the big picture, the state’s statistics reflect that it will be a long road to complete recovery.

The state is still down 213,532 jobs compared to a year ago. Of that total 193,428 jobs are in the private sector. Meanwhile, the national jobs picture appears to be improving. Last week, filings for unemployment benefits in the U.S. reached their lowest point since the pandemic started.