How DEED uses data to create insights on economic inequality
March 9, 2022
DEED’s agency-wide goal in 2022 is to drive an economic comeback from the COVID-19 pandemic, focused on people and businesses who face systemic barriers to growth. In order to do that, we need to know who was most negatively impacted and how systemic barriers play a role in that negative impact.
There is plenty of data to show that Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) Minnesotans bore the brunt of job and wage loss during the pandemic. But a deeper dive into the data reveals additional information about what factors – like occupation, industry, part-time vs. full-time work status, and educational attainment – influenced job loss, the ability to find new employment and, very critically, the ability to find new employment that paid as well or better than a person’s previous job.
We are fortunate to have an outstanding Labor Market Information (LMI) team here at DEED. New research from one of the LMI team members, Alessia Leibert, highlights which Minnesotans suffered the most time out of work and experienced the greatest loss of wages following a pandemic layoff.
Alessia’s article Reemployment after COVID-19 layoffs in Minnesota: Who's getting left behind? is a good example of how our department uses data to create new insights and inform decision-making.
In this article, Alessia examines the spring 2021 employment status of Minnesotans who filed for unemployment benefits during the initial months of the pandemic. It shows that more than three-quarters of those laid off were working in spring 2021. But it also shows a two-tiered recovery with workers who are Black, over age 55, or who have lower educational attainment being the most likely to suffer long-term unemployment and significant wage loss.
So, when we get insights like this from our LMI office, what does DEED do about them?
One example is our CareerForce System. DEED and our workforce development partners throughout the state use economic insights to focus on transforming the customer experience in the CareerForce system. Our changes are rooted in a proactive approach to serve the customers who need us most. That means reaching out to people where they are, in their communities, in places like libraries and community centers. This proactive outreach helps us provide career exploration, information about training opportunities and job search assistance to those most impacted by not only the pandemic over the past two years, but by systemic barriers that date back decades.
CareerForce and its shift to a more proactive approach to serve people is just one example of what DEED is doing to break down barriers. Equity-driven work is taking place across all of our offices and includes providing Minnesota Main Street Economic Revitalization Program assistance to businesses impacted by the pandemic, engaging in new models to serve people with disabilities, assisting start-ups through Launch Minnesota – with an emphasis on BIPOC-, women- and veteran-owned businesses – and more.
As all of us at DEED continue to strive for a truly equitable economic recovery, research like that done by Alessia helps us hone our programs and services to connect with those who need our support the most. You can find out more about what DEED is doing to assist people and businesses who face systemic barriers to growth on our strategic plan page, which includes goals, benchmarks we’ve set for ourselves and scorecards from past years.