Minnesota’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped significantly in October, down to 4.6% from a revised 5.9% in September, according to numbers released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development. However, the drop was due to the second consecutive significant monthly drop in the state’s labor force participation rate. The labor force participation rate declined to 67.4% in October from a revised 68.5% in September. Minnesota’s labor force participation rate was 70.2% in February 2020, prior to the pandemic’s effects.

The U.S. unemployment rate decreased by 1.0 percentage point to 6.9% in October 2020 and the U.S. labor force participation rate increased by 0.3 percentage point to 61.7% in October.

“COVID has brought unprecedented challenges to Minnesotans and our businesses. Just yesterday we had to take action to slow the slow the spread of the virus because the health and well-being of Minnesotans and our state’s economy depend on it,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “Despite these challenges, companies in many fields are hiring. DEED will continue to help job seekers in their career journey, and our CareerForce job counselors are available right now to help job seekers look for work.”

The number of unemployed workers in Minnesota fell to 137,359 in October, down 44,573 from September, and down 165,607 since May, when the number peaked at 302,966. The number of employed people in Minnesota fell by 2,445 in October to 2,876,635, but was still up 109,657 since its low point in May.

Communities of color continue to be more deeply affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19. Based on rolling averages over the last six months, from May to October 2020, the unemployment rate for Black Minnesotans is 15.4%, up more than 10 percentage points from 5.3% one year ago, but down 1.1 percentage points since September. In October, 31,000 Black Minnesotans returned to work or found new jobs. For Latinx Minnesotans, unemployment is at 9.6%, up from 2.6% a year ago.

Minnesota’s jobs picture continued to slowly improve in October with the addition of 13,200 payroll jobs, up 0.5% from September. The private sector added 12,900 of those jobs, up 0.5%. Minnesota lost 387,800 payroll jobs from February through April and has since gained back 203,600, or 52.5% of those jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis. The United States gained 638,000 payroll jobs in October, up 0.5% from September.

All but two supersectors saw seasonally adjusted job gains over the month in Minnesota:

Gains were led by Trade, Transportation & Utilities, up 4,600 jobs with growth in Wholesale Trade and Transportation, Warehousing & Utilities. Retail Trade lost 200 jobs, the first job loss in this sector since April.

Leisure & Hospitality added 3,900 jobs almost entirely in Accommodation & Food Services, up 3,800 jobs.

Manufacturing added 2,400 jobs almost all in Non-durable Goods Manufacturing.

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