Job vacancies at record high in Minnesota

Minnesota’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 4.3% in February, down from 4.5% in January, according to numbers released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. The decline in the unemployment rate was due to more people finding work and a decrease in the number of unemployed people, which resulted in another decline in the number of people engaged in Minnesota’s labor force.

Minnesota’s labor force participation rate fell by a tenth of a point to 67.8% in February. It was 70.2% in February 2020, immediately before the start of the pandemic. Nationally, the unemployment rate fell one-tenth to 6.2% in February, with labor force participation staying level at 61.4%.

Minnesota gained 13,900 jobs, up 0.5%, in February on a seasonally adjusted basis. This is 200 jobs short of the peak pandemic recovery employment in October 2020. The private sector gained 11,000 jobs in February, up 0.5% over the month, bringing private sector employment 300 jobs above peak pandemic employment reached in October.

The U.S. gained 379,000 jobs, up 0.3% over the month, in February on a seasonally adjusted basis.

The deepest impacts of the pandemic are felt by Minnesotans from Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities. Based on 12-month moving averages, the unemployment rate for Black Minnesotans was 9.2% in February, down from 9.5% in January and up from 4.5% one year ago. The Latinx unemployment rate was 7.5% in February up from 7.3% in January and up from 5.0% one year ago. White Minnesotans were at 5.9% in February, up from 5.8% in January and up from 3.0% one year ago.

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

Five supersectors gained jobs, five lost jobs and Professional & Business Services held steady over the month in Minnesota.

Gains were in Leisure & Hospitality, up another 13,500 jobs or 6.9% over the month, followed by Government, up 2,900 jobs or 0.7%, Educational & Health Services, up 2,000 or 0.4%, Trade, Transportation & Utilities, up 1,700 or 0.3%, and Financial Activities, up 600 or 0.3%.

Losses were in Construction, down 3,300 jobs or 2.7%, Other Services, down 1,700 jobs or 1.7%, Manufacturing, down 1,600 jobs or 0.5%, Information, down 200 jobs or 0.5%, and Logging & Mining, down 100 jobs or 1.6%.

Minnesota lost 416,300 jobs from February through April 2020 and since April has gained 205,100 jobs, or 49.3% of the jobs lost on a seasonally adjusted basis. The private sector has regained 50.7% of the jobs lost.

Over the year in February, Minnesota shed 213,532 payroll jobs, down 7.2%. U.S. over-the-year job loss stood at 6.0% for both total nonfarm and private sector employment in February, a slight improvement from January. All supersectors continued to show over-the-year job loss in Minnesota and nationally.

Over-the-year job losses were still greatest in Leisure & Hospitality, down 26.1% or 68,441 jobs. Other supersectors with a high share of job losses were Other Services, down 12.5% or 14,182 jobs, Information, down 12.4% or 5,675 jobs, Construction, down 8.0% or 8,788 jobs, Logging & Mining, down 7.9% or 496 jobs, and Professional & Business Services, down 7.2% or 27,212 jobs. All other supersectors are down less than 6%. Four supersectors in Minnesota showed strength over the year compared to the U.S.:

Logging & Mining job loss in Minnesota remains below U.S. job loss, down 7.9% in Minnesota compared to 13.6% nationally.

Financial Activities is now only 0.5% or 901 jobs below where it was in February 2020 in Minnesota. Nationally the industry remains down 1% over the year. Minnesota’s strengths are in financial activities and insurance. Finance and Insurance is 620 jobs above where it was one year ago in Minnesota.

Employment in Education & Health Services is down 4.5% in Minnesota compared to 5.3% nationally. In Minnesota, strength is in Educational Services (non-public is down 6.6% in Minnesota and 10.2% nationally) as well as Nursing and Residential Care Facilities (down 3.1% in Minnesota and 9.2% nationally).

Employment in Government is down 4.6% in Minnesota compared to 5.9% nationally. Strength here is across the board but particularly in state government education (down 4.1% in Minnesota compared to 11.9% nationally) and local government education (down 6.9% in Minnesota and 8% nationally).

Employment fell in February over the year in all Minnesota Metropolitan Statistical Areas.