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Minnesota's Unemployment Rate Falls to 4.6% in October

Drop due entirely to labor force participation declines; job growth continues with 13,200 payroll jobs added


November 20, 2020

St. Paul – 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 (DEED). 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 Nondurable Goods Manufacturing.

• Other Services added 2,200 jobs.

• Educational and Health Services added 1,900 jobs, with Educational Services up 2,500 jobs and Health Care & Social Assistance down 600 jobs. This was the first time Health Care & Social Assistance lost jobs since April.

• Construction added 1,700 jobs.

• Mining & Logging added 200 jobs and Financial Activities gained 300 jobs.

• Government added 300 jobs with losses in Federal and State Government and a gain of 2,700 jobs in Local Government.

Two supersectors lost jobs in Minnesota from September to October: Professional & Business Services lost 3,100 jobs entirely in Administrative & Support Services which was down 4,300, and Information which lost 1,200 jobs.

All supersectors continued to show over-the-year job loss in Minnesota and nationally. Over the year in October, Minnesota shed 187,897 payroll jobs, down 6.2%, while the private sector shed 158,253 jobs, down 6.1%. U.S. over-the-year job loss was 6.0% with the private sector down 6.2% in October.

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

Minnesota and U.S. Employment and Unemployment - October 2020

Seasonally Adjusted Not Seasonally Adjusted

Unemployment Rate October 2020 September 2020 October 2020 October 2019

Minnesota 4.6% 5.9% (revised) 3.9% 2.6%

U.S. 6.9% 7.9% 6.6% 3.3%

Employment October 2020 September 2020 October '19- October '20 Level Change October '19- October '20

% Change

Minnesota 2,793,400 2,780,200 -187,897 -6.2%

U.S. 142,373,000 141,735,000 -9,111,000 -6.0%

Minnesota and U.S. Over the Year (OTY) Employment Change, Not Seasonally Adjusted: October 2019 - October 2020

Industry Supersector OTY Job Change OTY Growth Rate (%) US OTY Growth Rate (%)

Total -187,897 -6.2 -6.0

Private -158,253 -6.1 -6.2

Logging & Mining -1,041 -15.3 -15.3

Construction -7,075 -5.0 -2.5

Manufacturing -14,043 -4.3 -4.6

Trade, Transport. & Utilities -6,119 -1.2 -3.5

Information -6,345 -13.8 -8.3

Financial Activities -4,506 -2.3 -0.9

Prof. & Business Services -10,517 -2.7 -4.8

Ed. & Health Services -32,449 -5.8 -4.4

Leisure & Hospitality -67,143 -24.5 -19.7

Other Services -9,015 -7.9 -6.8

Government -29,644 -6.8 -4.7

Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) Over the Year (OTY) Employment Change, Not Seasonally Adjusted: October 2019 - October 2020

Metropolitan Statistical Area OTY Employment Change OTY Employment Change (%)

Minneapolis-St. Paul MN-WI MSA -127,438 -6.2

Duluth-Superior MN-WI MSA -11,291 -8.1

Rochester MSA -7,440 -5.9

St. Cloud MSA -3,819 -3.4

Mankato MSA -3,144 -5.2

Visit the DEED website to see DEED’s alternative measures of unemployment. You can also find the monthly jobs numbers and unemployment data on DEED’s website. You can see a list of the top 30 jobs in demand now in Minnesota on

DEED is the state's principal economic development agency, promoting business recruitment, expansion and retention, workforce development, international trade and community development. For more details about the agency and its services, visit the DEED website or follow us on Twitter.


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