State unemployment dips to another all-time low

ST. PAUL — The unemployment rate ticked down two-tenths of a point to 1.8% in June 2022 – yet another record low since the metric has been tracked in 1976, according to numbers released today by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). The lowest pre-pandemic unemployment rate was 2.5% in early 1999.

The unemployment rate decline over-the-month was entirely due to people moving from unemployment to employment. The labor force participation rate ticked up another tenth of a point to 68.5%.

Minnesota has now created over 91,000 jobs in the past year, with the state’s labor force participation rate growing to 68.5%, Gov. Tim Walz said.

“We’re building a state with more opportunity for Minnesotans. I am proud to break another record with these historically low unemployment rates,” Walz said. “During a period of global economic worry, Minnesota’s economy is stable and thriving. We will continue working to provide all Minnesotan’s security and financial relief and ensure that this growth continues.”

Over the past six months, DEED reported, Minnesota has seen a greater job growth rate compared to the nation as a whole, at 1.6%. In the past year, the state’s job growth has increased by 3.2%. Minnesota Management and Budget released an economic forecast in February showing that Minnesota’s state budget surplus is projected to be a historic $9.25 billion for fiscal year 2022-23.

Nationally, the unemployment rate stayed the same at 3.6% for the fourth straight month and the employment-to-population ratio dropped two-tenths of a point to 59.9% over the month.

On a seasonally adjusted basis Minnesota’s job growth was flat in June. Overall, the state gained 100 jobs in June, following the addition of 7,500 jobs (revised upward by 900 jobs) in May 2022. The private sector lost 400 jobs in June on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Over the year, Minnesota has added 91,421 payroll jobs, up 3.2%.

“Another month has brought another record-low unemployment rate, as more Minnesotans are finding opportunity in our economy,” said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. “The big challenge is a historically tight labor market — we’re still down just over 72,000 people in our labor force since before the pandemic. We’re continuing to grow DEED’s Summer of Jobs campaign to highlight job market opportunities, and to help employers find workers in labor pools they may have previously overlooked.”

The employment recovery has not been consistent for all Minnesotans. Black and Hispanic Minnesotans have higher labor force participation rates, at 68.9% and 79.7% respectively in June 2022, than white Minnesotans, at 68.4% in June.

The labor force participation rate for white Minnesotans has fallen consistently over the pandemic period, largely due to an aging workforce.

June data also show that Black and Hispanic Minnesotans have higher unemployment rates – at 7.4% and 3.1% respectively — compared to white workers, at 2.4%. This indicates that employers must continue to employ new strategies to find available workers from communities of color in Minnesota.

In Minnesota and across the nation, wages are not currently keeping up with the rate of inflation. Average hourly wages for all private sector workers, at $34.21 in June, rose 5.2% over the year and 9.6% over two years. Nationally private sector wages at $31.82 rose 5.1% over the year and 9.3% over two years.

The CPI inflation index for all urban consumers rose 9% OTY in June 2022 and 14.8% over two years.


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