Southeast Minnesota is a health care and agricultural powerhouse. The region is home to the renowned Mayo Clinic and some of the world's most recognized food companies and brands.
Advanced manufacturing is especially strong here, with machinery, chemicals, and electronics among the top products.
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6/22/2020 9:00:00 AM
From March 16th to May 21st, Southeast Minnesota has seen 55,433 workers apply for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits due to the COVID-19 pandemic, equaling 19.2% of the total labor force estimate for the region, which was 288,108 workers in 2019.
During this time, certain age groups saw higher numbers of UI claims, with younger workers taking the hardest hit by numbers in the region. Especially at the outset, the highest numbers of claims were seen among those between the ages of 25 and 34, while 16 to 24-year-olds saw the third highest number in the first two weeks. This was predictable in that occupations that have higher shares of younger workers (ages 16 to 24) saw higher numbers of claims, including retail sales (2,865 applications) and food and beverage serving occupations (4,156 applications).
However, other age groups saw higher numbers of claims as well, including workers between the ages of 35 to 44, which had the second highest number right away, and the second highest number overall. This shows up in occupational groups that are more traditionally filled by older workers, such as health diagnosing and treating practitioners (2,747 applications) and construction trades workers (3,124 applications).
Conversely, the lowest numbers of claims were seen among the oldest workers (65 and older), though they also make up the smallest percentage of the total labor force (see Figure 1). However, older workers account for disproportionate share of claims: workers 65+ make up about 5.4% of the labor force, but 6.4% of claims activity. The youngest workers account for 16.3% of the labor force, but 14.8% of total claims.
Over the course of two months, most of these age groups have seen consistent declines in UI applications, while others have been characterized by a series of ups and downs. Comparing the week ending March 21st to the week ending May 23rd, all age groups have seen declines in the number of new UI applications. However, in the last week, one age group (45 to 54) actually saw a slight increase of applications, most likely related to continuing claims in the region's major health care and social assistance and manufacturing industries.
With establishments such as restaurants, bars, salons, and places of worship opening (albeit with restrictions), hopefully the number of unemployment applications will continue to see declines in future weeks as more people return to work or find new jobs.
Contact Mark Schultz.