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By The Numbers

Mark Schultz  

By Mark Schultz  
December 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has put Minnesota through a whirlwind of changes – changes that have disrupted not only the economy, but also many aspects of people’s lives. While executive orders led to the “temporary” closure of many establishments, some of these “temporary” closures led to permanent closures, and workers found themselves either temporarily or permanently jobless. No doubt lifestyles were affected for those that found themselves out of work. While some relief came in the form of additional money from unemployment insurance and unemployment insurance extensions, many of Minnesota’s workers still struggled with joblessness and subsequent uncertainty.

So just how badly did COVID-19 impact job counts in Minnesota? DEED’s Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages data is the perfect source to look at job loss during the onset of the pandemic, and a recent update which included third quarter 2020 data allows us to look at how the state started to recover jobs lost during the second quarter.

As shown in figure 1, from the first to the second quarter of 2020 (during the onset and initial wave of COVID-19 cases) the State of Minnesota lost almost 300,000 job, a decline of 10.4%. However, from the second quarter to the third quarter the state had gained back 121,395 jobs for a gain of 4.5% (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Minnesota Job Trends Qtr. 1 - Qtr. 3 2020

From the first to the second quarter of 2020, 18 of the 20 industry sectors lost jobs, with the largest job losses seen in Accommodation and Food Service (90,887), Health Care and Social Assistance (40,018), Retail Trade (33,826), Other Services (27,194), Educational Services (26,565), and Arts, Entertainment and Recreation (22,307). Altogether, these six industry sectors accounted for 81.3% of the lost jobs in the state.

From the second to the third quarter, however, 17 of the 20 industry sectors gained some of those jobs back (Educational Services, Transportation and Warehousing, and Utilities continued to lose jobs to the tune of 38,395, 2,734 and 20 fewer jobs, respectively). The largest gains were experienced in Accommodation and Food Service (51,996), Retail Trade (25,564), Other Services (16,853), Health Care and Social Assistance (15,684), Arts, Entertainment and Recreation (13,969), and Construction (10,827).

Undoubtedly COVID-19 shook Minnesota’s economy with business closures and lost jobs as shown by the available 2020 job data. It is nice to see that some of the jobs lost from the first to the second quarter of 2020 were gained back the following quarter; however, there is still a level of uncertainty on what the job outlook will be like in the fourth quarter of 2020.

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