The Potluck

Minnesota’s unemployment rate fell to 4.3% in February

By: - March 25, 2021 12:30 pm

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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Rilyn Eischens
Rilyn Eischens

Rilyn Eischens is a former data reporter for the Minnesota Reformer. Rilyn was born and raised in Minnesota 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.