Minnesota Unemployment Rate Hits Pre-Pandemic Levels
Plumes of smoke rise above a factory in St. Paul. Sanita Wongyongsin / Shutterstock.com

Minnesota Unemployment Rate Hits Pre-Pandemic Levels

In October, the state reported an unemployment rate of 3.5 percent — the same level it was at just before government-mandated shutdowns in March 2020.
Plumes of smoke rise above a factory in St. Paul. Sanita Wongyongsin / Shutterstock.com

Is Minnesota’s labor market back to normal yet? Perhaps not quite yet, but it seems to be getting closer.

On Thursday morning, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) announced that the state’s October unemployment rate essentially returned to pre-pandemic levels. For the month of October, DEED reported a statewide unemployment rate of 3.5 percent. That’s the same level it was at back in March 2020, just before state-mandated lockdowns drove massive job losses.

Minnesota is still ahead of the national unemployment rate, which sat at 4.6 percent for the month of October.

In a news release, DEED officials said that the state’s improved unemployment rate was primarily the result of people moving from unemployment to employment. There’s a caveat there, though: Minnesota’s labor force is slightly smaller than it was before the pandemic, down about 84,000 workers, according to DEED.

In September, Minnesota reported an unemployment rate of 3.7 percent.

Meanwhile, Minnesota hasn’t gained back all the jobs it lost during the pandemic, but that’s also getting closer. In October, Minnesota gained back about 295,800 jobs, or about 71 percent of the jobs lost from February through April 2020, according to DEED.

“It’s good to see another month of job growth in Minnesota, despite a very tight labor market,” said DEED commissioner Steve Grove in the release. “At DEED, we continue to work with unemployed Minnesotans, helping them to find work that meets their families’ needs. Employers are paying higher wages, out-pacing inflation, which presents lots of great opportunities for job seekers.”

Where did Minnesota gain jobs? According to DEED, the state reported job gains across eight “supersectors,” including hospitality, education, and manufacturing.

Sector Jobs gained
Professional & business services +3,200
Manufacturing +3,000
Leisure & hospitality +2,700
Educational & health services +1,000

Related Stories