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Minnesota unemployment rate in March reached lowest level ever recorded

(The Center Square) – Minnesota’s unemployment rate decreased to 2.5% in March, tying its lowest level ever recorded, the Department of Employment and Economic Development announced Thursday.

The last time it was that low was in February 1999.

“The decline over-the-month was entirely due to people moving from unemployment to employment,” DEED’s news release said.

Labor force participation in the state increased from 67.9% to 68.1% from February to March. The state gained 11,500 jobs (0.4% increase, 11,000 in private sector) seasonally adjusted in March after the economy gained 13,000 (revised from 5,200, private sector 12,800, revised from 5,100) in February, the department’s news release said.

Minnesota gained jobs in 10 supersectors. Manufacturing gained 2,300 jobs, and Trade, Transportation, and Utilities gained 2,000 jobs. Other Services lost 200 jobs, a 0.2% drop.

As of March, Minnesota has regained 76% of job numbers it lost from February through April 2020.

In the past year, the North Star State’s private sector has gained 67,584 jobs (2.8%), which is 53,351 jobs short of March 2020 employment. Overall, total nonfarm employment has increased by 68,540 payroll jobs, up 2.5% over the year, which is 77,874 short of March 2020 employment.

Leisure and Hospitality jobs grew 18.1% in the last year. Manufacturing jobs increased 4.2%, and Other Services jobs increased 3.8%. Financial Activities has decreased 0.8%. Education & Health Services has dropped 0.1%.

The U.S. labor force participation rate increased a tenth of a percentage point to 62.4% while the unemployment rate fell two-tenths of a percentage point to 3.6%. Nationally, the labor force participation rate ticked up 0.1% to 62.4% and the unemployment rate fell two-tenths of a percentage point to 3.6%.

The U.S. gained 431,000 jobs (0.3%) from February to March 2022. U.S. employment has grown 4.6% in the past year. Mining & Logging (2.3% decrease) was the only supersector to lose jobs. Leisure & Hospitality, Other Services, Manufacturing, and Mining & Logging are faring better in Minnesota compared with nationally.

“It’s good news for Minnesota that more people returning to the labor force as job growth continues to surge,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “However, many Minnesotans who want to work are not connecting with stable employment. DEED is working to build bridges between employers and communities that are too often overlooked – workers of colors, workers with disabilities, and new immigrants – to empower the growth of the Minnesota economy for everyone.”

Unemployment rates by race – March 2022

(source: CPS Demecon, 12-month moving averages):

Month/Year 

Total 

White 

Black 

Hispanic 

March-2022 

3.5% 

3.0% 

7.1% 

5.1% 

February-2022 

3.5% 

3.2% 

6.5% 

4.7% 

March-2021 

6.2% 

5.9% 

9.0% 

7.7% 

Over the month change 

0.0 

-0.2 

0.6 

0.4 

Annual change 

-2.7 

-2.9 

-1.9 

-2.6 

Minnesotans who are Black, older than 55 years old, and/or have lower levels of education are continuing to experience longstanding challenges in returning to stable employment, according to a recent report from DEED’s Labor Market Information office.

Hourly wage increases for private sector workers (4.9% over the year) are about half of the rate of inflation reported in March 2022 (8.5%).

In the past two years, private sector wages have risen 6.3% in Minnesota. Inflation has increased 11.4%. Nationally, private sector wages rose 5.8% over the year and 9.6% over two years.

In many cases, average wages for high-demand, low-wage jobs are increasing. Production workers in nursing and residential care facilities made an average $21.62 hourly in March, up 13.8% since last year. Production workers in Food Services and Drinking Places made an average $16.76 hourly in March 2022, up 10.3% over the year and 17.0% over two years. Those ages peaked in December 2021. Retail Trade production workers’ average hourly wages are growing more slowly ($18.66 March 2022, up 2.5% in last year, 14.3% since two years ago).

Minnesota and U.S. Employment and Unemployment – March 2022

 

Seasonally Adjusted 

Not Seasonally Adjusted 

Unemployment Rate 

March 2022 

Feb. 2022 

March 2022 

March 2021 

Minnesota 

2.5% 

2.7% 

2.8% 

4.4% 

U.S. 

3.6% 

3.8% 

3.8% 

6.2% 

Non-Farm Jobs 

March 2022 

Feb. 2022 

March ’21- March ’22 Level Change 

March ’21- March ’22 % Change 

Minnesota 

2,893,800 

2,882,300 

68,540 

2.5% 

U.S. 

150,925,000 

150,494,000 

6,623,000 

4.6% 

 

Minnesota and U.S. Over-the-Year (OTY) Employment Change, Not Seasonally Adjusted: March 2021 – March 2022

 Industry Supersector 

OTY Job Change 

OTY Growth Rate (%) 

U.S. OTY Growth Rate (%) 

Total  

68,540  

2.5  

4.6  

Private  

67,584  

2.8  

5.0  

Mining & Logging 

261  

4.2  

-2.3  

Construction 

752  

0.7  

2.6  

Manufacturing 

12,944  

4.2  

2.9  

Trade, Transport. & Utilities 

8,705  

1.7  

5.5  

Information 

1,556  

3.7  

9.1  

Financial Activities 

-1,562  

-0.8  

1.3  

Prof. & Business Services 

5,184  

1.4  

6.7  

Ed. & Health Services 

-326  

-0.1  

3.2  

Leisure & Hospitality 

36,198  

18.1  

11.2  

Other Services 

3,872  

3.8  

1.8  

Government 

956  

0.2  

2.4  

 

Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) Over-the-Year (OTY) Employment Change, Not Seasonally Adjusted: March 2021 – March 2022

DEED has begun adding over-the-year employment change data for Metropolitan Statistical Areas that border Minnesota and include Minnesota counties.

Metropolitan Statistical Area  

OTY Employment Change (#, NSA)  

OTY Employment Change (%, NSA)  

Minneapolis-St. Paul MN-WI MSA  

52,048  

2.8  

Duluth-Superior MN-WI MSA  

4,056  

3.2  

Rochester MSA  

3,962  

3.3  

St. Cloud MSA  

2,577  

2.5  

Mankato MSA  

1,261  

2.3  

Fargo-Moorhead ND-MN MSA (February)  

3,300  

2.4  

Grand Forks-East Grand Forks ND-MN MSA (February)  

1,600  

3.1  

La Crosse-Onalaska WI-MN MSA (February) 

1,800 

2.4 

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