Minnesota Adds Nearly 52K Jobs in January
Steve Grove, commissioner of Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Minnesota Adds Nearly 52K Jobs in January

The state’s unemployment rate also declined to 4.5 percent in the first month of 2021, though that was again due to a decline in labor force participation.
Steve Grove, commissioner of Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development.

In January, Minnesota gained back nearly all of the jobs it lost in the prior month, the state’s jobs agency reported on Thursday.

In the first month of 2021, the state gained 51,800 jobs, which covered all but 1,000 of the estimated jobs lost in December 2020. Minnesota initially reported a loss of 49,800 jobs in December, but the state’s original estimates often fluctuate as officials gather more data.

In a Thursday morning news conference, Steve Grove, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, said that the governor’s decision to roll back some of his pandemic-related restrictions likely drove much of the job growth in January. Gov. Tim Walz allowed bars and restaurants to reopen for indoor dining on Jan. 11.

According to DEED’s latest data, Minnesota’s leisure and hospitality sector accounted for the largest job gains in January. The sector added 35,500 jobs that month. The education and health service sector came in second with 6,700 jobs added in January.

Grove said the state’s January jobs report show the “beginning stages of a comeback in 2021.”

“We saw our economy bounce back from a really devastating December that we saw from a surge of Covid-19 here,” the commissioner said. “The gaining of those jobs is a big deal, and we see Minnesotans have already started to get out and spend money. … The early signals here were that consumer confidence did rise as 2021 began.”

Anecdotally, some restaurants and entertainment venues in the state have been reporting an increase in customer flows, Grove noted.

“Winter is a tough time to build back your economy in Minnesota. There’s no question,” he said. “But we are on the right track.”

Meanwhile, the state’s unemployment rate also declined to 4.5 percent, down from 4.7 percent. But officials attributed the decline to more people leaving the labor market. The same was true for December’s jobs figures.

“The number of unemployed fell 7,652 and the number of employed fell 14,851 for a total decline of 22,503 in Minnesota’s labor force on a seasonally adjusted basis,” DEED officials said in a news release.

Still, Minnesota’s unemployment rate was below the national average of 6.3 percent. National jobs figures appear to be improving, too. The U.S. Labor Department last week reported that 712,000 people filed for unemployment for the week that ended March 6. To be sure, that’s still a sizable figure, but it’s still significantly lower than a peak of around 7 million unemployment applications in March.