Minnesota added 11,300 new jobs in April, the fourth straight month that the state has posted job gains. Data from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) shows that the state has now added 95,700 jobs over the last four months. More than half of those jobs were added in January when DEED reported 51,600 new jobs.
The latest numbers bring the state’s unemployment rate down to 4.1 percent, a small decline from the 4.2 percent rate last month.
Minnesota lost 416,300 jobs from February to April 2020 when the pandemic first hit. Since then, the state has regained 235,300 jobs, which translates into 56.5 percent of the jobs lost.
In a video press conference discussing the latest numbers, DEED Commissioner Steve Grove noted that in the hospitality and leisure sectors the state has regained about 88,000 of the 147,000 jobs that were lost last year.
Grove also took particular note of the construction industry, which added 1,100 jobs in April.
“Construction, notably, is the first industry that we’ve seen gain back fully the jobs lost due to the pandemic,” said Grove.
DEED’s statistics continue to show racial disparities in the state’s job numbers. Based on 12-month rolling averages, the unemployment rate for Black Minnesotans was 8.9 percent in April. At the same time the unemployment rate for Latinx Minnesotans in April was 7.7 percent.
Many economic observers were disappointed to see the national jobs report at the beginning of May. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the nation added just 266,000 jobs in April after a booming report of 916,000 new jobs for March. The national unemployment rate edged up to 6.1 percent for April.
The question many economists were left trying to figure out: were the weak April jobs numbers just a blip or a signal of more trouble ahead for the recovery?
On Thursday morning, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that 444,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week — the lowest number seen since March 14, 2020. For the same period one year ago, 2.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits.
While the economy is growing again, the road ahead is not predictable.
“It is a challenging and different economy. We aren’t just going back to the one we had before the pandemic,” said Grove, who described the current economy as “transitional.”