A nail salon, as pictured on May 20, 2020, one of many Minnesota businesses shuttered at the time as part of the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Rilyn Eischens/Minnesota Reformer
Minnesota’s unemployment rate was 4.3% in February, down from 4.5% in January as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to stress businesses and workers.
People of color are still the most affected by the economic downturn. The unemployment rate for Black Minnesotans was 9.2% in February, and 7.5% for Latino Minnesotans. For white Minnesotans, the rate was 5.9%.
The decline in the overall unemployment rate was caused in part by more Minnesotans leaving the workforce. The state’s labor force participation rate fell to 67.8% — one of the lowest rates in 40 years, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. The rate was 70.2% in February 2020.
The state’s unemployment rate is in line with the national rate, which fell to 6.2% in February.
More than 1.27 million Minnesotans have applied for unemployment benefits since March. The number of applicants doesn’t match the unemployment rate because it includes people who may be back at work after receiving benefits. Workers can receive benefits if their hours have been cut or they’re furloughed, while the unemployment rate only counts people who are not working.
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