The Potluck

Minnesota unemployment rate fell to 3.8% in August

By: - September 16, 2021 1:02 pm

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Minnesota’s unemployment rate was 3.8% in August, down slightly from 3.9% the month before, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced Thursday.

The state’s unemployment rate is still well below the national rate, 5.2%. Minnesota gained about 4,300 jobs — an increase of 0.2% — a promising sign for economic recovery in this phase of the pandemic, according to DEED.

Job growth has been uneven month over month, but so far, Minnesota has gained back about 65.5% of the jobs lost when the pandemic hit last spring. That means the state was still down about 143,600 jobs compared to January 2020.

The unemployment rate only tracks people who are actively looking for work, not people who have given up. Indeed, Minnesota’s labor force participation rate remained at a near record low, at 67.8%. It fell slightly from 67.9% in July. Some workers have stopped seeking work for a number of reasons, including concerns over COVID-19 and lack of child care.

Black workers remain hardest hit by job loss. The unemployment rate for demographic groups has been difficult to track given the volatile labor market, according to DEED, so the agency has turned to adjusted unemployment rates based on 12-month moving averages. Under this calculation, DEED estimates overall unemployment was at about 6.4% in August 2021, and 8.4% for Black workers, 4.7% for Latino workers and 5.9% for white workers.

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Rilyn Eischens
Rilyn Eischens

Rilyn Eischens is a data reporter with the Reformer. Rilyn is a Minnesota native and has worked in newsrooms in the Twin Cities, Iowa, Texas and most recently Virginia, where she covered education for The Staunton News Leader. She's an alumna of the Dow Jones News Fund data journalism program and the Minnesota Daily. When Rilyn isn't in the newsroom, she likes to read, add to her plant collection and try new recipes.