Latest MN workforce stats show drop in jobs, increase in labor force participation

(Mohamed Ibrahim | Mohamed Ibrahim/Report for America via AP)
Published: Jul. 20, 2023 at 5:56 PM CDT
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (KTTC) – For the fourth month in a row, Minnesota has seen an increase in labor force participation. June’s statistics, released my the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) on Thursday, showed the labor force participation rate at 68.4%

“Another 9017 people have joined the labor market in Minnesota,” said DEED Commissioner Matt Varilek, “With those new workers, our labor force participation rate has increased 2/10′s of a percent.”

The national average is 62.6%. While there’s more progress to be made to reach pre-pandemic levels of participation, the state seems to be on a consistent road to recovery.

“Pre-pandemic, the labor force participation rate for Minnesota was around 70%, and the pandemic prompted earlier retirements,” said Angelina Nguyen with DEED.

While participation rose, jobs in the month of June were down in the state.

“Even though our labor force numbers increased, Minnesota lost 4,300 jobs in the last month on a seasonally adjusted basis,” Varilek said.

Varilek stressed that those numbers aren’t indicative of a larger trend. In fact, 9 of the last 12 months have seen positive job growth. Despite losses this month, Minnesota’s unemployment numbers still sit well below the national average.

“The national unemployment rate is around 4-5%,” said Nguyen, “So right now, with our unemployment rate of 2.9%, it’s actually a tight labor market.”

The newly announced statistics come as Governor Tim Walz continues a statewide tour to highlight investments in the workforce made this past spring.