The Potluck

Minnesota’s unemployment rate improves, but over 236,000 people still out of work

By: - August 20, 2020 11:47 am

Minnesota’s unemployment rate fell to 6% in September as workers still face sweeping job cuts due to the pandemic. (Rilyn Eischens/Minnesota Reformer)

Minnesota’s unemployment rate fell to 7.7% in July, down from 8.6% in June, as workers still face sweeping job cuts amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

That means 236,832 Minnesotans were jobless in July, according to data released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. The new figures show that Minnesotans of color continue to be hit hardest by job loss — 15.3% of Black workers were unemployed in July, compared to 6.3% of white workers.

Minnesota added 32,500 jobs between June and July, an increase of about 1.2%. Still, the number of payroll positions statewide is down more than 8% compared to July 2019. The leisure and hospitality industry is the hardest hit, with a 29% decline in jobs compared to last July.

More than 914,000 Minnesotans have applied for unemployment benefits since mid-March, when the state expanded its program to include pandemic-related job loss. 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.

Minnesota’s unemployment rate is below the national rate, which declined from 10.2% in June to 11.1% in July, according to DEED. The state’s unemployment rate during the pandemic peaked in May, when 9.9% of workers were unemployed.

The unemployment figure does not include Minnesotans who have given up looking and left the labor force altogether.

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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.