Minnesota Unemployment hits 8.1% for April

Thu 5-21-2020

St. Paul – Minnesota’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 8.1% in April according to numbers released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. The number of unemployed Minnesotans increased by 160,627 to a total of 249,453 from March to April. Seasonally adjusted payroll employment decreased by 359,800 jobs in April, or 12.2% with the private sector down 334,700 jobs, or 13.3%, during the month.   

The employment numbers released show the first full month of COVID-19 impact from mid-March when measures were first taken to slow the spread of COVID-19 through mid-April. This includes daily data on the number of new and reactivated Unemployment Insurance applications. The latest daily Unemployment Insurance report showed 695,156 new applications and reactivated accounts from March 16 through May 20.  

Minnesota's labor force numbers fell by 31,594 individuals in April. As a result, Minnesota’s labor force participation rate declined to 68.8% in April from 69.1% in March, and 70.2% in February.  Minnesota’s unemployment rate rose from 2.9% (revised down from 3.1%) in March to 8.1% in April. The national unemployment rate rose from 4.4% in March to 14.7% in April. 

Minnesota lost 387,894 payroll jobs, down 13.1% over the year, while the Private sector lost 361,673 jobs, down 14.3%. All supersectors lost jobs in April over the year with the exception of Mining which added 101 jobs.  By far the largest relative declines were in Leisure & Hospitality, down 148,593 jobs or -55.5% followed by Other Services, down 32,245 jobs or -28.3% over the year.  Job losses in these two supersectors alone accounted for 47% of all over the year job losses in April.

Over the year, employment fell in all Minnesota MSAs in April. It is interesting to note that the three regions with the largest employment declines experienced them for different reasons. The Duluth-Superior MSA had a higher than state average concentration of employment in Leisure & Hospitality  which was hit hardest during the pandemic. Likewise, at just over 43%, the Rochester MSA has the largest share of employment in Education and Health Services of any MSA in the state, and saw a nearly 10% decline in that domain over the year. As the largest metro area in the state, the Twin Cities has over two-thirds of the state’s total employment, and slightly more than two-thirds of the state’s jobs in the hard hit Leisure & Hospitality, Other Services, and Information industries, as well as a higher concentration of employment in non-critical Retail Trade subsectors that were directly impacted. Retail Trade dropped -12.1% year-over-year in the Twin Cities, compared to -7.7% in Duluth and -5.9% in Rochester.