Minnesota’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 4.3 percent in February, down from 4.5 percent in January, according to numbers released Thursday by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

Minnesota’s labor force participation fell by a tenth of a point to 67.8 percent in February. It was 70.2 percent in February 2020, immediately before the start of the pandemic. Nationally, the unemployment rate fell one-tenth to 6.2 percent in February, with labor force participation staying level at 61.4 percent. 

Minnesota gained 13,900 jobs in February on a seasonally adjusted basis, up 0.5 percent. That number is 200 jobs short of the peak pandemic recovery employment in October 2020. 

The private sector gained 379,000 jobs, up 0.3 percent over the month, in February on a seasonally adjusted basis. 

“We are moving in the right direction, but we still have a lot of runway ahead for job growth,” DEED Commissioner Steve Grove said.

Five supersectors gained jobs, while five lost jobs, according to DEED. Professional and business services held steady in the state. 

The leisure and hospitality sector gained 13,500 jobs, a 6.9 percent increase over the month. Government jobs increased by 2,900, or 0.7 percent. Educational and health services gained 2,000 jobs, or 0.4 percent while transportation and utilities added 1,700, or 0.3 percent. Financial activities increased by 600, or 0.3 percent. 

The biggest decrease came in the construction industry, which lost 3,300 jobs, or 2.7 percent. Manufacturing was down 1,600 jobs, or 0.5 percent. Information jobs decreased by 200, or 0.5 percent. Other services lost 1,700 jobs, or 1.7 percent. 

Logging and mining lost 100 jobs, or 1.6 percent. 

According to statistics provided by DEED, Minnesota lost 416,300 jobs from February through April 2020 and since April has gained 205,100 jobs, or 49.3 percent of the jobs lost on a seasonally adjusted basis. The private sector has regained 50.7 percent of the jobs lost. 

Over the year in February, Minnesota shed 213,532 payroll jobs, down 7.2 percent. U.S. over-the-year job loss stood at 6.0 percent for both total nonfarm and private sector employment in February, a slight improvement from January. All supersectors continued to show over-the-year job loss in Minnesota and nationally. 

Over-the-year job losses were still greatest in Leisure & Hospitality, down 26.1 percent or 68,441 jobs. Other supersectors with a high share of job losses were Other Services, down 12.5 percent or 14,182 jobs, Information, down 12.4 percent or 5,675 jobs, Construction, down 8.0 percent or 8,788 jobs, Logging & Mining, down 7.9 percent or 496 jobs, and Professional and Business Services, down 7.2 percent or 27,212 jobs. All other supersectors are down less than 6 percent. Four supersectors in Minnesota showed strength over the year compared to the U.S.:

Logging & Mining job loss in Minnesota remains below U.S. job loss, down 7.9 percent in Minnesota compared to 13.6 percent nationally.   

Financial Activities is now only 0.5 percent or 901 jobs below where it was in February 2020 in Minnesota. Nationally the industry remains down 1 percent over the year. Minnesota’s strengths are in financial activities and insurance. Finance and Insurance is 620 jobs above where it was one year ago in Minnesota.  

Employment in Education & Health Services is down 4.5 percent in Minnesota compared to 5.3 percent nationally. In Minnesota, strength is in Educational Services (non-public is down 6.6 percent in Minnesota and 10.2 percent nationally) as well as Nursing and Residential Care Facilities (down 3.1 percent in Minnesota and 9.2 percent nationally).  

Employment in Government is down 4.6 percent in Minnesota compared to 5.9 percent nationally.  Strength here is across the board but particularly in state government education (down 4.1 percent in Minnesota compared to 11.9 percent nationally) and local government education (down 6.9 percent in Minnesota and 8 percent nationally).

Employment fell in February over the year in all Minnesota Metropolitan Statistical Areas. 

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