Minnesota Unemployment Dips to 3.1% in February
Minnesota lost 4,900 private sector jobs and gained 400 government sector jobs in February, prior to significant impacts from COVID-19 on Minnesota employment numbers, according to seasonally adjusted figures released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). Minnesota’s unemployment rate dipped down one tenth of a percentage point in February to 3.1% . Similarly, the national unemployment rate ticked down one tenth of a percentage point in February to 3.5% .
“It’s important to note that February employment numbers don’t reflect the significant impact on Minnesota employment we’ve seen in the past 10 days due to COVID-19,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove.
Because of the lag time between data collection and reporting, and because monthly employment data reflects payroll numbers through mid-month, we won’t expect to see a more complete picture of COVID-19 impacts on monthly employment numbers until the April data release on May 21.
In addition to the monthly employment data report, DEED economists use other data to track the numbers of people who are jobless. This includes data on the number of new and reactivated Unemployment Insurance applications, which DEED releases regularly.
Over the year, February 2019 to February 2020, Minnesota added 2,315 payroll jobs while the private sector lost 1,618 and the government sector gained 3,933 jobs. Minnesota’s labor force participation rate dropped one-tenth of a point to 70.2% in February while the employment-to-population ratio held steady at 68.1%.
Seven of the 11 major industry sectors gained jobs during February, three lost jobs and one held steady. Gainers were led by Other Services, up 2,000 jobs, Leisure & Hospitality, up 800 jobs and Manufacturing, up 600 jobs over the month. The largest losses were in Professional & Business Services, down 3,600 jobs, Trade, Transportation and Utilities, down 3,000 jobs and Education & Health Services, down 2,100 jobs.
Seven supersectors are showing over the year job losses: Logging & Mining, Manufacturing, Trade, Transportation & Utilities, Information, Financial Activities, Professional & Business Services, and Education & Health Services. Despite slow overall annual growth, Minnesota outpaced the nation in three sectors, Logging & Mining, Construction and Other Services.
Average hourly earnings for all private sector workers rose in January by 34 cents to $31.50. Over the year growth in average hourly earnings rose to 5.2% from 4.8% one year ago. The average work week rose by 0.6 hours to 33.9 hours per week, up 1.8% from one year ago. Employment services (temp help) employment continued to drop over the year, down 6.2%.
Employment in the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MSA was mostly flat, down by 900 jobs (0.0%) on the year in February. The Duluth-Superior MSA also had negative OTY job growth, off by 1,289 jobs, or 0.9%. The other three Minnesota-based MSAs added jobs over the previous 12 months, with the largest real and proportional job growth once again coming in Mankato-North Mankato, which added 1,220 jobs, or 2.1%. Rochester employment growth moved back into positive territory after January’s dip into negative OTY growth.