Minnesota’s unemployment rate increased to 8.1 percent in April, the first full month impacted by coronavirus restrictions.
Between March and April, the state’s unemployment rate jumped from 2.9 percent to 8.1 percent. Nationally, the unemployment rate rose from 4.4 percent in March to 14.7 percent in April.
According to the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), the number of unemployed Minnesotans increased by 160,627 to a total of 249,453 between March and April. That number is significantly lower than the 695,156 unemployment applications that have been filed in Minnesota since the start of the pandemic.
DEED Commissioner Steve Grove explained that the number of people applying for unemployment insurance and the share of the labor force represented by those applying for insurance is not the same as the official number of people who are unemployed or the monthly unemployment rate.
“Unemployment Insurance applicant data does not match unemployment data for several reasons. One key reason is that workers can apply for and receive unemployment benefits if their hours have been cut but they are still working. Such workers would not be counted as unemployed in the official unemployment rate. In the official rate, if a person works even one hour a week they are counted as employed, not unemployed,” his office said in a press release.
Minnesota’s labor force numbers fell by 31,594 individuals in April. As a result, Minnesota’s labor force participation rate declined to 68.8 percent in April from 69.1 percent in March, and 70.2 percent in February.
“We were one of the first states in the nation to fully implement all three elements of the CARES Act to quickly get benefits out the door to as many people as possible. While the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged our state in many ways, we continue to work closely with our state agency partners and health, business and labor leaders to reopen Minnesota businesses, safely return more people to work, and stem the tide of COVID-19 on our economy,” Grove said in a statement.
A report released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor showed an additional 2.44 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the week ending May 16, bringing the total number of unemployment claims since the beginning of the pandemic to more than 38 million.
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