Data show that Minnesota is one of 13 states which still haven’t regained their pre-COVID-19 employment numbers

Minnesota’s media will often celebrate data showing that the state has added a particular number of jobs over a given month. What they are less likely to report is that this is affecting the number of people actually employed in our state rather less than it is elsewhere in the United States.

Figure 1 shows the change in the number of people employed in the fifty states from February 2020 – the pre-COVID-19 peak – and August 2023, the most recent month for which we have data. As we can see, Minnesota is one of only thirteen states which have still failed to regain their pre-pandemic peak of employment.

Figure 1: Change in total employed, February 2020 to August 2023

Yes, in August we had an unemployment rate lower than in 24 other states, but do you remember last year when we were celebrating “the lowest [unemployment] number recorded for any state ever since the data began to be collected in 1976“? Minnesota’s job growth isn’t matching its employment growth.