The Potluck

More than 231,000 Minnesotans were jobless in August

By: - September 17, 2020 1:35 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 7.4% in August, a decline of 0.2% from July as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to stress businesses and workers.

That means 231,599 Minnesotans were jobless in August, according to data released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. People of color are still most affected by the economic downturn, with 16.3% of Black workers and 9.7% of Latino workers unemployed last month.

The state’s unemployment rate is below the national rate, which declined from 10.2% in July to 8.4% in August.

Minnesota added 40,500 payroll jobs in August, an increase of 1.5% from the month before. Still, the state’s number of jobs has declined 7.3% — more than 219,200 jobs — compared to August 2019. The leisure and hospitality industry has been hit the hardest, with the number of payroll positions down 26.6% over the year.

More than 980,000 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.

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

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

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.