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By the Numbers

By Carson Gorecki
August 2020

At 63,525, Food and Beverage Workers submitted the most applications for unemployment insurance (UI) in the state. Construction Trades Workers and Retail Sales Workers rounded out the top three occupations by number of applications. Together, the three occupations accounted for 18.4% of all UI applications since March 16. UI applications are a measure of those interested in receiving UI and do not necessarily reflect the actual number of people that received UI (see Table 1).


Traverse County reported 20 continued unemployment insurance claims in the most recent week, ending 9/19. This number is less than half pre-COVID claims levels. Kittson and Big Stone County had the next fewest claims with 30 and 36 respectively. The five counties with the least claims were all located on Minnesota’s western border. Hennepin County had the most claims with 45,654, followed by Ramsey County with 19,177 the week ending 9/19.

As of August, Minnesota’s labor force participation rate – or the share of working age people who are working or looking for work – was 69.8%, seasonally adjusted. Our Midwestern neighbors Wisconsin and Iowa were more than four points lower at 65.4% and 65.3%, respectively. North Dakota (67.7%) and South Dakota (67.6%) were higher, but still more than two points lower than Minnesota. In fact, Minnesota had the highest labor force participation rate of all 50 states and the District of Columbia (see Table 2).


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