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COVID-19's Impact on Employment in the Metro Area

12/4/2020 9:00:00 AM

Tim O'Neill

Twin Cities Metro Area employment dropped by 13.3% – or 236,862 jobs – between the second quarter of 2019 and the second quarter of 2020, according to data from the Department of Employment and Economic Development's (DEED) Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW). For more perspective from historic QCEW data, the Metro Area lost 84,209 jobs during the Great Recession, a decline of 5.2%. With a decline of 13.3% in 2020, the region lost nearly three times as many jobs due to COVID-19 as it did during the Great Recession!

The Twin Cities Metro Area had 87,574 establishments supplying 1,547,548 covered jobs during the second quarter of 2020. One year previous, during the second quarter of 2019, the region had 1,784,410 covered jobs. That loss of 236,862 jobs year over year in the second quarter is almost exactly the number of jobs the region gained in the nine years of employment expansion since the end of the Great Recession (+236,611 jobs) (Figure 1).

Metro Area Employment Trends Q2 2005 - 2020

While job loss during COVID-19 was more dramatic than that of the Great Recession, job rebound has been more dramatic in 2020 as well. Recent employment data from Current Employment Statistics (CES) shows employment rebounding in the State of Minnesota and the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)– with 173,573 of 230,376 jobs lost from March to April gained back by October 2020. This employment bounce in the Twin Cities Metro Area will most likely be reflected in third quarter QCEW data when released early next year.

Data from QCEW also allows us to analyze which industry sectors have been hit the hardest in the Twin Cities Metro Area due to COVID-19. It is hard to believe, but six major industry sectors lost more than 20,000 jobs between the second quarters of 2019 and 2020, including:

  • Accommodation and Food Services: -67,322 jobs (-47.3%)
  • Retail Trade: -27,735 jobs (-16.9%)
  • Health Care and Social Assistance: -23,023 jobs (-8.3%)
  • Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation: -21,864 jobs (-58.1%)
  • Other Services: -20,325 jobs (-35.1%); and
  • Administrative and Support Services: -20,206 jobs (-20.6%)

Zooming in, those more-specific industry sectors which lost the most jobs between the second quarters of 2019 and 2020 include:

  • Restaurants: -47,549 jobs (-42.9%)
  • Employment Services: -13,007 jobs (-29.3%)
  • Other Amusement and Recreation Industries: -12,387 jobs (-58.5%)
  • Travel Accommodation: -10,637 jobs (-63.4%)
  • Personal Care Services: -7,719 jobs (-63.0%)
  • Clothing Stores: -6,419 jobs (-63.1%)
  • Special Food Services: -6,071 jobs (-60.6%)
  • Civic and Social Organizations: -5,689 jobs (-65.8%)
  • Management of Companies and Enterprises: -4,868 jobs (-6.1%); and
  • Offices of Physicians: -4,342 jobs (-13.1%)

In terms of percentage employment loss, other decimated industries include:

  • Amusement Parks and Arcades (-84.9%)
  • Promoters of Performing Arts, Sports, and Similar Events (-75.6%)
  • Agents and Managers for Artists, Athletes, Entertainers, and Other Public Figures (-71.4%)
  • Drinking Places (Alcoholic Beverages) (-69.2%)
  • Motion Picture and Video Industries (-68.1%)
  • Taxi and Limousine Services (-61.9%)
  • Book, Periodical, and Music Stores (-59.7%)
  • Used Merchandise Stores (-55.5%)
  • Personal and Household Goods Repair and Maintenance (-53.6%); and
  • Spectators Sports (-52.3%).

While some of these industries – such as those in retail trade, health care, and employment services – have already started to recover, others are struggling to return to normal, both in customer confidence and employment levels.

For More Information

Contact Tim O'Neill, Labor Market Analyst.

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