Minnesota’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 4.2% in March, down from a revised 4.4% in February, according to numbers released by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

In Becker County, the non-seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate was at 5.4% in February, the latest month for which county statistics are available. It was 5.6% in Otter Tail County, 3.9% in Clay County, 8.5% in Mahnomen County, 6.5% in Hubbard County, and 7.2% in Wadena County, according to the DEED website.

The statewide unemployment rate decline in March was due to people leaving the labor force primarily from unemployment, but also from employment, according to a DEED news release.

Minnesota’s labor force participation rate decreased from 68% to 67.8%, dropping back to where it sat in April 2020. It was 70.2% in February 2020, prior to the pandemic recession.

Nationally, the unemployment rate fell two-tenths to 6%, with labor force participation up one-tenth point to 61.5%.

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Minnesota gained 21,600 jobs, up 0.8%, in March on a seasonally adjusted basis. This puts Minnesota 19,900 jobs above the state’s previous pandemic peak in October 2020.

The private sector gained 23,300 jobs, up 1%, bringing private sector employment 21,700 jobs above its October 2020 level. The U.S. gained 916,000 jobs, up 0.6% over the month, in March on a seasonally adjusted basis.

“It's good to see Minnesota’s job growth reach its highest levels since the beginning of the pandemic, but we still have a long ways to go,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “There are over 100,000 job postings in the state, and we need to make sure more Minnesotans are aware of these opportunities to get back into the labor force. At DEED, we are continuing extensive outreach to unemployed Minnesotans to let them know about opportunities for in-demand jobs with local employers who are hiring now.”

The deepest impacts of the pandemic continue to be felt by Minnesotans from Black, Indigenous and People of Color communities. Based on 12-month moving averages, the unemployment rate for Black Minnesotans was 9% in March, down from 9.2% in February and up from 4.5% one year ago. The Latinx unemployment rate was 7.7% in March, up from 7.5% in February and up from 4.6% one year ago. White Minnesotans were at 5.9% in March, the same as in February, and up from 3% one year ago.

Seven supersectors gained jobs, three lost jobs, and Mining & Logging held steady in March on a seasonally adjusted basis.

  • Gains were largest in Construction, up 7,900 jobs or 6.8%; Professional & Business Services, up 5,500 jobs or 1.5%; Leisure & Hospitality, up 4,300 jobs or 2% over the month; Trade, Transportation & Utilities, up 3,900 or 0.8%; Manufacturing, up 1,900 jobs or 0.6%; Other Services, up 400 jobs or 0.4%; and Education and Health Services, up 300 jobs or 0.1% over the month.

  • Losses were in Government, down 1,700 jobs or 0.4%; Financial Activities, down 500 jobs or 0.3% and Information, down 400 jobs or 1%.

Minnesota lost 416,300 jobs from February through April 2020 and has since gained 225,200 jobs, or 54.1% of the jobs lost on a seasonally adjusted basis. The private sector has regained 56.3% of the jobs lost.

Over the year in March, Minnesota shed 167,206 payroll jobs, down 5.7%. This is an improvement from last month when Minnesota was down 7.3% over the year. The private sector shed 145,364 jobs over the year, down 5.8% in March. U.S. over-the-year job loss stood at 4.4% for total nonfarm and 4.3% for private sector employment in March, an improvement from February.

All supersectors continued to show over-the-year job losses in Minnesota and nationally.

Over-the-year job losses in Minnesota were still greatest in Leisure & Hospitality, down 21.5% or 54,691 jobs. Other supersectors with a high share of job losses were Information, down 12% or 5,427 jobs; Other Services, down 10.9% or 12,291 jobs; Mining & Logging, down 6.7% or 426 jobs; Government down 5.1% or 21,842 jobs; and Professional & Business Services, down 5% or 18,697 jobs over the year.

Only two supersectors in Minnesota showed strength over the year compared to the nation as a whole:

Logging & Mining job loss in Minnesota remains below U.S. job loss, down 6.7% in Minnesota compared to 9.1% nationally. Employment in Education & Health Services was down 3.5% in Minnesota compared to 3.9% nationally.

In Minnesota, strength was in Educational Services (non-public – down 3.1% in Minnesota and 6.2% nationally) as well as Nursing and Residential Care Facilities (down 2.9% in Minnesota and 9.1% nationally).

Employment fell in February over the year in all Minnesota Metropolitan Statistical Areas.