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Fun With Statistics

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By Dave Senf
david.senf@state.mn.us
September 2020

Minnesota’s job rebound from the pandemic is gradually taking hold as evidenced by the year-over-year change in jobs tailing off from -14.3% in April to -8.5% in July. Minnesota’s job recovery looks to be lagging slightly behind the U.S. job recovery as U.S. year-over-year change was -15.2% in April and -8.2% in July. Surprisingly average weekly total private earnings (average weekly private earnings multiplied by average weekly private employment) declined less than private employment as average weekly hours barely changed and average hourly earnings increased on a year-over-year basis. Average hourly earnings spike up because most of the jobs lost were in low paying occupations.

Year-over-year private employment, hours, hourly earnings, weekly earnings, and weekly total earnings in Minnesota since the pandemic set in have for the most part been in the middle of the pack when compared to all states. For example, in July Minnesota’s average weekly total private earnings (all private paychecks) were 3.7% below 12 months ago. Average weekly total private earnings were 6.7% higher than last July in Idaho but down 12.1% in Hawaii.

Current Employment Statistics (CES) estimates of monthly unadjusted private wage and salary non-farm employment, average weekly hours, average hourly earnings, and average weekly earnings are used to display year-over-year changes from January to July 2020 in this Tableau visualization:

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